December 4, 2012

Refined to my highest potential

By Brook Hostetter, a senior music major from Harrisonburg, Va.
SCRIPTURE: Malachi 3:1-4 (NRSV)

Back in the day, the job of the metal refiner was an incredibly meticulous and important task. A refiner was to make a metal the best that it could be. In order to do this, the refiner would take their precious metal and hold it over an extremely hot flame. The refiner’s task was to sit, wait and hold the metal carefully, rotating it within the fire. It was incredibly important for the refiner to hold the metal steadily and never look away because as soon as the refiner saw her/his reflection in the metal, he/she must immediately pull the metal out of the flame. If the refiner held the metal in the fire too long, the metal would be ruined.

When I think of myself as metal and God as refiner, I am comforted. The fire hurts. The burn of the fire is miserable, but if God is the Refiner, I know that God is holding me steadily and watching carefully, never looking away. God is holding me in the fire to perfect me and make me the best that I can be. I will be held in the fire until God’s reflection is seen in me, but will not sit in the fire longer than I can bear. I am being refined to my highest potential.

SCRIPTURE: Malachi 3:1-4 (NRSV)
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.



Comments (7)

  1. What a fitting analogy and so eloquently described!

    Elisabeth December 4, 2012 |
  2. Brook, beautifully written word picture of the refining process and God’s constant awareness of the process. You words touched me.

    Betty S. December 4, 2012 |
  3. Thanks for informing me of “metallurgy”…a powerful metaphor, Brook. Your devotion is still speaking to me as I live into some “refining realities.” Thanks!

    Bob Yoder December 5, 2012 |
  4. I really enjoyed reading your background information about the refining process. What a fascinating analogy that the refiner waits to see his/her reflection in the metal.

    Lisa Roth Walter December 5, 2012 |
  5. Good reminder of why we should choose the “Refiner’s Fire.” Do you know the song?

    Ruthanne Hostetter December 6, 2012 |
  6. I agree, this was a great analogy! Educational too. Thank you!

    Lori December 6, 2012 |
  7. Thank you so much for this devotional.
    I was worship leader at my church (West Union Mennonite, Parnell, Iowa) last Sunday and used your refining explanation in the call to worship.
    Your explanation created such a wonderful picture of God’s presence in our lives. I’ve always pictured refining as a big pot of melted ore – and that didn’t quite make sense.
    I happily gave you credit and suggested more people take advantage of these wonderful Goshen devotionals!

    Thank you!

    Beth December 13, 2012 |