Disappointment in Life. Hurts. Despair “As Silver Refined” by Kay Arthur (December 2008)

Susan's Thursday morning note December 15, 2008 
Disappointment in life.  Hurts.  Despair.
As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur
Good morning all you busy Christmas planners, shoppers, tired elves out there! This week I have been reading a book that has made my top three in life.  I do not easily give a book that high of a mark, but this one is changing my life.  As Silver Refined: Learning to Embrace Life’s Disappointments by Kay Arthur.  She addresses tragedy, relationships, grief, apprehension.  Whatever we struggle to handle in a way that gives tremendous hope to God’s involvement in our story.  She describes how our tendency is for disappointment to lead to discouragement, depression, even despair, or you can let God use you to make you a reflection of His goodness. 
A silversmith is the one occupation where the silversmith stays by the fire for the entire process of working with his silver.  He puts the silver into the fire, working it slowly, heating it just to the point it can handle – then pulling it out & getting rid of a layer of impurities.  He at this point will see a blurred image of himself.  He then puts the silver back into the fire…working it slowly, gently, causing intense heat to work once again on the impurities.  He brings out his precious metal – causing more impurities to fall.  He sees a little bit clearer image of himself, but still cloudy.  He then puts the metal back into the fire again…this time turning up the heat even another notch…testing the metal to a point that it almost cannot endure, but then at just the precise moment, pulls it from the fire – releasing even more impurities.  This time, as the silversmith looks into the side of his metal, he sees a beautiful mirror-like image, clear, of his face. 
I know I’ve heard this type of analogy before, but for some reason, this author gave the analogy so beautifully.  For we are going to go through the fire, with our creator NEVER once stopping his working personally with us – he doesn’t go into the other room while we’re in the fire.  He’s completely connected, personally holding and turning us himself, never causing the heat to be so high that we disintegrate.  He is causing us to become absolutely perfect.  I read the line on how intimate God can be for us – to cup our face in his hands.  Her description of letting God take all of our intense situations into his own hands – we don’t need outs.  We don’t need friends to get us out of our messes, we need to be smart, think things through, but the answer lies in the fact that we are to be ridding ourselves of impurities, seeking holiness, seeking to be a mirror-image of God. 
Another striking thought was the concept that some silver will not allow itself to conform to the silversmith’s desires – to become pure.  There were verses quoted on the silver that was rejected, for it refused to become perfect.  This idea just really hit me to.  I have to stop trying to have a solution for all that life brings me.  I have to stop wondering how long I’ll be in the fire.  I have to allow my maker to work on me.  If I don’t – I will never be pure in his eyes.  How can I step Heavenward (my other favorite book!), if I am not willing to surrender all – grief, frustrations, exhaustion, situations out of my control?  I’ll leave you with encouragement sent yesterday by a friend of my mom’s – let me encourage you once again to take the time to send others notes of what is on your mind.  Give books, be vulnerable.  You do not know who will be affected by you opening up a small part of your heart to them.
“We often expect quick changes in our lives and quick reactions over sin.  But our journey with God is a lifelong process, and the changes and victories may take time.  It is easy to grow impatient with God and feel like giving up hope because things are moving too slowly.  When we are close to a situation, it is difficult to see progress.  But when we look back we can see that God never stopped working.” Joshua 11:18 notes from the NIV Life App. Study Bible)
On that note (like our song last week!) – I have to say again thank you so much for your business this season.  I know many of you are apprehensive about the holiday season – get this book.  For those having no apprehensions, only anticipation – love your moment.  Have a fantastic day and weekend.  May you feel our Creator’s presence in your day.  Susan (and for those of you wondering where my coffee comment was for the week – Stu just handed me a perfect cup!)
Works Cited:
Arthur, Kay.  As Silver Refined.  New York.  Random House.  1999.