The Merciful Fire of Trials

Kerry Tittle

Kerry Tittle

Founder, Refined Family

Kerry Tittle is a mother of 10 children and a 20+-year homeschool veteran. She is the founder of Refined Family. Her desire is to honor Christ while comforting others with the comfort she has received from the Lord. 

Merciful? When I was younger I was always told that mercy was being spared of what you really deserved. It seems counterintuitive that trials can be merciful.

During my journey, I have noticed that there are several references to the Refiner’s Fire in Scripture. I will be honest, the dawning lightbulb over my head was a long time in coming. I had the hardest time reconciling trials with good. But when the “aha!” moment came, it had been after years of searching.

The way to understand trials as good and merciful is by identifying yourself as the ore.

You are the ore. By definition, ore is material that contains a valuable element. You have this as well because you were made in the image of God. But the value is hidden and work is needed to reveal it . The Refiner will break up the hardened rock. (Remember you are the ore…that won’t feel good.)

Jeremiah 23:29

Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
The image of a bunch of broken rocks seems less than desirable, but bear with me.  The Refiner will take the broken ore and put in the crucible.  He will take us, broken, scarred and bruised, and place us in the crucible (a melting pot that can withstand extreme heat.) The crucible is put in the furnace. Now if you are anything like me, you would probably wish to be put back in the dark ground rather than be placed in the fire of the furnace.

Proverbs 17:3

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the LORD tests hearts.

As much as the dark places seem more comfortable than the furnace, the Refiner loves you too much to leave you in the darkness. He has broken the fallow ground of your heart and is beginning a work in you that He will bring to completion.

You are still the ore. The fire is hot, very hot, and it gets more intense. At this point we are tempted to believe that the Refiner has left us or doesn’t care about us. But the truth is a Refiner can never leave a project in the furnace. If it is left in too long or not long enough, it’s ruined.

Malachi 3:3

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.
Does He leave the ore in the fire because He doesn’t love it or desires discomfort for the ore? No! He leaves it there because it leads to the best outcome. A good refiner is a careful watcher.

As the Refiner watches the impurities come to the surface, He will pull the crucible from the fire and remove the “dross” that has formed on the top.

Whew! It’s over! No not really. He places the crucible back in the fire and makes the fire hotter. Wow, this doesn’t seem like good news for the ore.

Proverbs 25:4

Take away the dross from the silver,
and the smith has material for a vessel;
He will continue this process over and over to take away the dross. Certain impurities are released at certain temperatures, much like certain sins surface under different pressures. Heat will expose us for who we are. Usually we will blame the circumstance of the heat for our sin. But the truth is, our sin was always there in our hearts. It just takes the heat of trials to bring that dross (sin) to the surface.

Each time the Refiner replaces the crucible back in the fire, He will look closely at His image. The more dross He removes, the clearer His reflection will be. This is purification.

Psalm 12:6

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
Each time He puts the crucible back in, we are certain we can. not. take. one. more. step. And if we were left to ourselves, we couldn’t. This is why God is so very intentional in His Word to keep reminding us that He is with us!

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
We very much feel like we will be burned or consumed. The adversity of the trials seems hopeless and uncomfortable. I have been there. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I wanted to give up (truth is I never kept track) and it’s still an ongoing battle for me. But God never left me. There were times I wish He had! I wanted to yell “uncle!” But He is a relentless pursuer of the prodigal hearts that are His. He knows leaving us in the dark, the fire, the wilderness, (whatever you call your valley) will not be for our good.

When the refining process is done, there is a mess where the refining took place, but there is also the finished product, a product that reflects the Refiner’s image!

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Share This