Below is an old poem that describes the refining process of gold in a furnace. As I read it again this week, the one line jumped out and hit me between the eyes!
“As we saw the fire, but not the Master’s hand.” It reminds me of Peter out on the water, taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking in the waves or of the good seed that was choked out by the thorns – the worries of the world. And I have to ask myself, is my God bigger than my circumstances? The answer is a resounding “yes!” that is indeed what I believe – Lord, help my unbelief!
He sat by the fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore.
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test
And He wanted the finest gold,
To mold as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems of price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Though we fain would have said Him, “Nay.”
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
As it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter, and yet more bright
And our eyes were so dim with tears,
As we saw the fire, not the Master’s hand,
And questioned with anxious fear.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above
That bent o’er the fire, though unseen by us
With a look of infinite love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause a moment of pain?
Ah, no, but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat
Than was needed to make it pure!
Source Unknown, but, perhaps, informed by passages like 1 Peter 1:6-9 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”