Fork in the Fire

Working from home, I’ve been making good use of my wood-burning stove. Sometimes it burns around the clock, and I empty the ash pan every few days. As I duly removed it last week, I felt a metal object buried in the powder. I’m used to the odd nail and screw as I burn old pallet wood, but this was much bigger. Closer inspection revealed it to be a fork. Annoyingly, I recognised it as a member of my own cutlery set, which wasn’t cheap. I am still puzzled by how I managed to get a fork in there without realising it. I not infrequently have concerns about my sanity and levels of common sense; this episode has not increased my confidence in either. Anyway, it was predictably filthy. I rinsed it and popped it in the dishwasher. To this day, it remains tarnished, dull and unattractive. Although I continue to use it, it is not fit to be given to a guest. The fire revealed that it was better on the outside than the in. Whereas silver is refined by burning off the dross which surrounds it, my steel fork came out worse than it started.

Proverbs 17:3 states the crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. The fires of adversity and affliction are but the Lord testing His precious commodity, His prized possession. By their heat, He removes the world’s scum and sin’s rust from the redeemed soul. They who come out of the furnace worse than they entered, never had the precious metal within them, being but base and common, neither worth keeping nor treasuring.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10