I am reading a book by Kay Arthur right now. As Silver Refined is an excellent read for those going through any trial. I will be posting excerpts and quotes to encourage us and help remind us all of the power behind these trials as well as the reason that Christ brings us through those dark times.
I love The Silversmith.
"Inside a small, walled courtyard under and blue and blazing sky, there stands a refiner of metals. In his hands, gnarled with age, he is rolling and fingering a lump of ore. He watches the sun play on the streaks and veins of lead and other minerals running through this bit of rock chiseled from the bowels of the earth.
His experienced eye knows that, intermingled within this ore, there is silver. He lays the ore on his worktable then builds his fire with care and the wisdom of years. Soon the flames are rising in the pit situated against the courtyard's stone wall. At the worktable he picks up his hammer and begins crushing the lump into small pieces. He pauses occasionally to stare at the fire, as if in study. From time to time he places more fuel upon the already-blazing coals and works his bellows until the flames are in a frenzy.When the fire is right, he gathers the hammered bits of ore from the place of their crushing and lays them in a small, sturdy container of tempered pottery---his crucible. He places the crucible in the fire and sits down beside it. A long day is before him, and this is where he will stay for as long as the metal is subject to the flames. Silver is too precious to be forsaken in the furnace, too valuable to be ruined through inattention.
Carefully he watches the fire. It must be maintained at exactly the right temperature for the right duration of time to accomplish its purpose. Slowly ore softens. The silver, with its greater density and lower melting point, liquefies first, hissing and bubbling oxygen is released. The still-solid impurities rise to the top of the molten metal. This is the dross, and the refiner skims it off.
Now he adds bits of charcoal inside the crucible. He knows this will enhance the sheen of the silver. The carbon of the charcoal will keep the refined metal from reabsorbing oxygen from the air, which would only dull its finish.
He tends the fire, adds more fuel, and applies more air from the bellows. Amid the relentless heat surrounding the crucible, more dull impurities, newly revealed, rise to the surface of the mixture. Again the refiner carefully skims away the murky, smudgy metal floating at the top of the crucible. Gazing down upon the molten surface, the refiner sees at best but a dim reflection of himself.
The refiner works and watches and waits. The heat and its effect continue. More impurities rise to the surface, and again he skims them off. He never leaves the crucible unattended, never steps away from the fire he has formed to do its work. The finished product he cherishes demands this process. Only his guided and guarded refinement will yield the promised and precious metal.
And he is not yet satisfied.
He lets the fire cool. Eventually he sets the crucible aside.
Then once again he builds up the fire, and the process begins all over. This time the skilled refiner makes the fire hotter. Within the crucible, new impurities are released, brought to the surface, exposed for what they are, and then skimmed off.
Finally, his leathery face breaks into a smile, for now as he gazes into the liquid silver his reflection is apparent--not yet sharp, but more distinct than before.
More hours pass as he perseveres in his anxious and delicate work.
And then.....once more he bends over the crucible, and this time he catches his breath. There it is! In the silver he sees what he has waited for so patiently: a clear image of himself, distinct and sharp.
Delight banishes his frown. His task is done. The impurities gone. The silver is refined.
He has his treasure.
He has "choice" silver, the most lustrous of all metals, beautiful and highly valued. It's as pale and shining as the wings of a dove, as brilliant and splendid as the moon, worthy to become a coin or trumpet or ornament, worthy to grace the king's table or to reflect sunlight in a crown upon his head.
The refiner has taken what was impure and made it pure.
He has taken what was dull and made it beautiful.
Potential value has become actual value.
And the fire--guarded, guided, relentless fire--made the difference. The fire allowed ordinary ore from the earth to be transformed into treasure.All under the refiner's watchful care, for all the while he never left it unattended."
I love The Silversmith.