When metal is forged, it is put under extreme heat. It is then pounded and shaped into whatever creation the metalsmith imagines. Through this forging process, impurities in metal are burned off by intense heat and pressure. The refined metal can then be shaped into something extraordinary.
I often contemplate the concept of a refiner’s fire. Like metal, when we are subjected to extreme heat and pressure, we are transformed. The hardships and trials we endure forge us into something spectacular!
I am moved by the lyrics of the song “Even If”, by Mercy Me, that reminds us God doesn’t always take away our trial, even though He has the infinite power to do so.
“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone”
Remember the story in the Book of Daniel about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego? These prophets refused King Nebuchadnezzar’s command to bow down and worship a golden image. The King threatened to throw the trio into the fiery furnace.
The prophets faithfully responded, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
In the case of Shadrach and his companions, the Lord DID deliver them literally out of the fiery furnace! But quite often in life we are left to endure the trial that gives us experience we could gain in no other way. We become stronger as we endure the pounding and heat of this refining process, and when we turn our hearts to the Savior, He transforms us.
Quentin L. Cook tells us that the “qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God” (“The Songs They Could Not Sing,” Oct. 2011 General Conference).
We are all subject to trials. What is fueling your fire of affliction? Do you or a loved one have a health crisis? Does your child suffer from anxiety or depression? Have you never married when you desperately long for a family? Do you suffer financial hardship?
Be consoled in the words of the Lord, who comforts, “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you” He is with us.
I know our Heavenly Father and our Savior are aware of our struggles; we are not alone in the fire. The Master is hammering, polishing, and refining us, and we are becoming more brilliant and shiny in the process. At times we may plead, “I know You’re able and I know You can, save through the fire with Your Almighty hand, but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.” May it be well with your soul.