Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10
Refined means to free from impurities or unwanted material.
We don’t pump pure gasoline out of the ground.
Nor do we find pure sugar in the fields.
Nor do we find silver jewelry or coins in the mines.
We find raw materials that must be refined.
And in their refined state they are most useful and most valuable.
So it is with us.
Except it is not sulfur compounds or salts God is most concerned about.
In Isaiah, God’s people were polluted with idolatry. Rebellion. Pride.
In our time, in our culture, in our lives, things haven’t really changed.
In industry, we use chemicals, pressure or heat to refine the raw materials.
The LORD uses the furnace of affliction.
It is in the hardest times, the most painful,
that we become most focused, the most aware
Of our deep need for God, of our dependence on Him.
It is a very hard, painful process, no question.
But afterward, like Paul told Timothy:
We will be fit for “honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21