In The Crucible of The Refiner’s Fire

Job 23:10 “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

My wife and I have just received another crook in our lot in life from the hand of the Lord. We have learned that the 11 week old child in her womb is dead. This is the third time we have experienced this type of providence. But it is wonderful to know that we too can at least in some sense, identify with Job, a man who knew afflictions like few other men have known them, “But He knows the way that I take . . .” Yes brothers and sisters, God knows our way, for Job also rhetorically asked, “Does He not see my ways And number all my steps?” We had many plans for this child, and yet we are reminded by our Lord in Proverbs 16:9 “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” In light of the assurance and comfort granted to those who have a full-orbed appreciation for God’s sovereignty in providence, consider the contrary position here taken by atheist cum theist (post-mortem of course) Bertrand Russell,

Even after abandoning logical atomism, Russell remained an enthusiastic pluralist; in 1931 he wrote that the proposition that the world is a unity, “the most fundamental of my intellectual beliefs is that this is rubbish. I think the universe is all spots and jumps, without unity, without continuity, without coherence or orderliness or any of the other properties that governs love.”[1]

Now, contrast that with this,

“I shall come forth as gold.” Job did not say, When he hath tried me I may come forth as gold,” or “I hope to come forth as gold,” but with full confidence and positive assurance he declared, “I shall come forth as gold.” But how did he know this? How can we be sure of the happy issue? Because the Divine purpose cannot fail. He who has begun a good work in us “will finish it” (Phil. 1:6). How can we be sure of the happy issue? Because the Divine promise is sure “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me” (Ps. 138:8). Then be of good cheer, tried and troubled one. The process may be unpleasant and painful, but the outcome is joyous and sure.

“I shall come forth as gold.” This was said by one who knew affliction and sorrow as few man have known them. Yet despite his fiery trials he was optimistic. Let then this triumphant language be ours. “I shall come forth as gold” is not the language of carnal boasting, but the confidence of one whose mind was stayed on God. There will be no credit to our account: the glory will all belong to the Divine Refiner (James 1:12).

For the present two things are certain: first, Love is the Divine thermometer while we are in the crucible of testing: “And he shall sit [the patience of Divine grace] as a Refiner and Purifier of Silver,” etc. (Mal. 3:3). Second, the Lord Himself is with us in the fiery furnace, as He was with the three young Hebrews (Dan. 3:25). For the future this is sure: the most wonderful thing in heaven will not be the golden street or the golden harps, but the golden souls on which is stamped the image of God; “predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son”! Praise God for such a glorious prospect, such a victorious outcome, and such a marvelous goal.[2]

And then this poem sent to me from a Christian friend,

THINGS DON’T JUST HAPPEN TO A CHILD OF GOD (Romans 8:28, 29) Things don’t just happen to a child of God, They’re part of a wonderful plan; The troubles, reverses, the sorrows, the rod Are strokes of the Great Sculptor’s hand. When some dread accident strikes you a blow And you worry and fret and demand; Why try so hard the mystery to know? It’s not just an accident; it’s planned. Have you been dropped from a place of power? Do you wonder and reprimand? Don’t rebel, but look to Him in that hour; Things didn’t just happen; it’s planned. Persecution, tribulations come down like a storm; Friends disappoint and withstand; At last, all alone, bewildered, forlorn, You look, and He smiles: “This is planned.” Do you wonder why God to affliction should call, And why you must suffer and moan? “No man should be moved by affliction,” says Paul. Don’t question – He planned it just so. Things don’t just happen to children of God, The blueprint was made by His hand; He designed all the details to conform to His Son, So all things that happen are planned. No matter what happens to those called “His own,” Events that are awful or grand; Every trial of your life He sends from His throne, Things don’t just happen, they’re planned.

So in conclusion, I have been thoroughly exhorted by the Holy Spirit working through God’s word and God’s people over the last twenty-four hours as I am continually reminded by how spiritually practical the supposed “stuffy, intellectual, and academic” doctrines of the reformed faith are to every day life. I must also note that I rejoice, in times like this as God reminds me that the promulgations of philosophical materialism are false and that there is inherent meaning to the universe and life rather than the forces of chance or fate handing us our blows. Yes indeed, we can rejoice in what Christ said to all those who are burdened “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

[1] “The Scientific Outlook,” New York, 1931, p.98. Cited in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Paul Edwards, 1967, volume 5, 364.

[2] A.W. Pink, Comfort for Christians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books), 40.

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9 Comments on “In The Crucible of The Refiner’s Fire”

  1. Joel Says:

    Dustin, God is preparing you to be a great comforter. We will be praying for you and your wife.

    “who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

  2. Joe L. Says:

    Dustin, my wife and I know the feeling. May the Lord comfort and bless you during this time. Your thoughts above are wonderful, thanks for sharing during this trying time.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  3. Dustin Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement gentlemen. It is a blessing knowing that I have brothers and sisters praying for me that I’ve never met (at least not yet!). Whats more, it was truly a blessing having Gene M. Bridges stand in my living room last night leading about 12 of us in prayer. That brother blessed my soul tremendously and brought glory to God through his affirmation of God’s sovereignty in this dark providence while praying for us. Amen and amen.

  4. Nathan White Says:

    Amen, brother. Your confidence in God’s sovereignty through such a heart-wrenching ordeal is an inspiration to us all and a confirmation of the grace that is working in you. Contrary to what so many say, we serve a very good God, who has lavished us with His blessings and grace, even when our outward circumstances may seem otherwise.

    Grace and peace from God to you and your family.

  5. wade Says:

    My parents lost three children to miscarriage as well (twice – the second time was with twins). I don’t know all the pain and emotions they went through, as I wasn’t born before the miscarriages happened, but hope that if something like this ever happens to me I will hold tight to the goodness and sovereignty of God, as you are doing now. Thank you for this post.

  6. scripturesearcher Says:

    Pastor, I think you and your wife must know how much you are loved and appreciated. And our prayers will continue on your behalf.

  7. Gordan Says:

    Pastor,

    My wife and I also lost a child at 11 weeks in the womb, this last year. I praise God that He has surrounded you with men and women of faith who can support you and help you to continue to think rightly about these things. You don’t know what a blessing that is until you don’t have it! (It is both amazing and disheartening to find out how many Christians are contented with the idea that some things are not in God’s control–either under the “sovereignty” of Satan, or simply random. And then they actually try to “help” you with those ideas!!)

    As I have prayed for my own wife in this situation, the following passage of Scripture has been a great comfort to me:

    “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18


  8. Thanks again for your compassionate and prayerful support my brothers!

  9. Gayla Says:

    Dustin, I am so very sorry. I know that pain also. May God continue to comfort you and your wife in the days ahead.

    I thought it interesting I popped in today to read about your refining fire trial. I posted about the same thing today on my blog. I’m losing parents and in-laws at too fast a rate.

    But God’s sovereignty over all things is a comforting reality in itself.

    God bless~


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