Being Refined

Being Refined

Posted on 22. Jul, 2009 by in Thailand

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'”
-Zechariah 13:9 NLT

I remember hearing that during the silver refining process, the metal is heated and treated so that any impurities will rise to the surface so they can be removed. From a spiritual standpoint, this is a welcome explanation for me. As we go through the “fire” of various trials, the “impurities” of our character rise to the surface to be dealt with.

We have been surprised at the negative parts of our characters popping up here and there: less patience with situations or people, a pessimistic attitude, more complaining, etc. At first I felt like, “What’s wrong with me? I’m not usually like this!” But as we sang “Refiner’s Fire” at church last weekend, I was reminded of the above illustration. This is all part of God’s continuing process to purify our character and make us more like Him.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
-James 1:2-4 NIV

And it isn’t like we’re going through some horribly trying experience. When I hear of tragedies and hardships that others go through, I feel like my situation doesn’t count as a “trial.” But that verse says, “trials of many kinds.” I guess that would include the stress of culture shock.

“Culture shock” may conjure images of being freaked out by something in the culture you’re living in. But really, it’s more of the underlying stress of living in a place and culture that is different than what you’re used to. I’ve learned about it through classes, books, and pre-missions training, but it’s different to actually go through it. This description on Wikipedia is a good, succinct explanation of the stages of culture shock. As I read it, I could see how I went through the various stages during my year in Korea. I also recognized how we’re going through it here. Seeing the stages laid out again, and remembering how it went last time reminds me that it’s natural and that we will move past the more stressful stage before too long. :)

But we can’t just excuse and ignore our negative reactions as normal culture shock. I still believe God is showing us aspects of our character that need work. We need to consciously work on them.

What has God been using to refine you lately?

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2 Responses to “Being Refined”

  1. tom hinton

    22. Jul, 2009

    Great post. You go to Thailand and God so cares that He works with you and in you. Great God. As I read the post I said to myself, “Right on target.” We are so proud of you. May God grant you the very desires of your heart and continually surprise you with His pleasure and mercy. Love your so.

    tom hinton´s last blog post..I wept today

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  2. Rosemary

    23. Jul, 2009

    Step into the hard places with God because you can trust His power, His love & His plan to make you more like Jesus. The missions experience will challenge you & grow your faith…..I know this.
    What an exciting journey you are on!
    Praying for you & sending love.

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