“I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
And they will say, ‘the Lord is our God.”
"Dross" is the impurity found in raw metal. To remove the dross, the metal is heated and melted. This separates the impurities and they rise to the surface of the liquified metal. The dross is skimmed off, leaving behind pure, smooth metal.
As a child of God, this purification process happens to each of us in much the same way. We are heated (tested) until we turn loose of the things that are not of Him. Then, those things are taken away by the refiner and we are left stronger and purer.
The goal is to eventually be as pure silver—capable of reflecting the image of our Refiner to those around us.
It has been my experience that Nihilism is a both a by-product of and requirement for the study of English Literature in American universities. Granted, I had honed my radical skepticism in High School with my study of the works of Ayn Rand and Neitzsche.
I was a bleak, dark child—fascinated with futility. It was only natural I would eventually become an English major and fan of post-modernist art.
The immersion into extreme pessimism was complete and immediate. I rejected truth, loyalty, and purpose, and embraced existentialism and transcendental idealism. Author after author reinforced this view. I felt justified in my passion for destruction. It was a creative passion after all! “Everything is relative,” and “There are no absolutes,” became my mantras.
Hemmingway, Joyce, Vonnegut, the list is extensive-- and all seemed to echo this nothingness. My professors were all very helpful and dutifully pointed to any correlations I may have missed. I was a model student. Aced every class.
In fact, if I had continued in my pursuit of this world view, I just might have ended up with the ultimate prize awarded to many of the authors I had studied— a dark and meaningless existence capped with a bullet to the head.
I tell you all this to show you what Christ has done in my life. He’s given me hope and a future. He’s taken this dross and burned it away. I know there is Truth. I know there is Love. He has given me values. He has given me a purpose.
And part of that purpose is to reach out to those who are still living in the darkness I inhabited for so long.
Recently, God brought someone like this into my life. So much like me- yet eternity apart. There is a darkness and a sadness that surrounds them and it makes me want to run away; but I know God has put them in my path for a reason. I know all the arguments and all of the resistance I will face. I know it is not my job to argue people into the kingdom… but rather to love them. God has brought us both to this place for His purposes.
"... for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?"-- Romans 10:13-14
At this point we are both faced with a decision:
Will I be bold and share the Truth, even if it means being ridiculed and rejected?
My answer will determine whether or not I am refined when tested, and therefore, more accurately reflect the image of my Savior to the world.
Will my friend believe and call upon the name of the Lord?
Their answer will determine whether they spend the rest of this life in darkness, and eternity separated from Christ.
No decision is still a decision.
Pray for us, if you would.