And I said to him, “My Lord, you know,” and he said to me, “These are the ones who are coming out of the Great Tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:14.
One night a group of women were meeting together for a small group when they stumbled across the verse in Mal 3:3. It says "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. . ." They were curious about what God and a refiner of silver would have in common. After some discussion, the women broke up for the evening with one of them promising to find out more about the refining of silver that week.
The woman made a date to go to a silver refining workshop and watch how it is done. As she watched the silversmith work, she saw him holding the silver in the hottest part of the flame. She asked the craftsman why he was doing this. He said, "It is because the heat of the flame takes away all impurities; the hotter the flame, the purer the metal is when it comes out."
She noticed that he held the silver there very carefully, in exactly the right spot, and he didn't once take his eyes off it until it was ready to come out.
The woman was still curious, "But how do you know when the silver is ready to come out of the flame?"
"Oh, that's easy," said the refiner, "I know it's ready when I can see my reflection in it.1
The basic meaning behind the word translated "tribulation" is "pressure" or "hard circumstances." We can all relate to the idea of "great tribulation." We have all experienced events in our lives that have brought us great stress, trauma and pressure. When passing through such times of tribulation it is nearly impossible to believe that anything good could come out of intense suffering. It is only with the perspective of time passed that we can often see God's refining hand reaching into our lives and using the pain of our hard experiences to refine us and bring us to a level of usefulness that could not have happened any other way.
Whenever I feel that I am in an unbearably "hot spot," I take comfort in the fact that my "refiner" is holding me very carefully, that no matter what it feels like, I can be sure that He won'tever leave me alone, not even for a second. And I can rejoice in the fact that, if the suffering continues longer than I think necessary, it is because He has a goal for me. When I am ready to be taken out of the "fire," He will be able to see His reflection in me! I don't care how hard things may become, nothing is more thrilling than the thought that when all is said and done, I will be more like Jesus!