How Then Shall We Live?
Devotions on Living the Deeper Christian Life
“But He knoweth the way that I take: when
He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
– Job 23:10
Trials Turn to Gold
Amy Carmichael was a missionary at the turn of the 1900’s who devoted much of her life to rescuing young girls dedicated to a life of prostitution and slavery in Indian Hindu Temples. One day, she took some of her children to see a goldsmith refining gold in the ancient manner of the Orient.
The old goldsmith sat beside a small charcoal fire. On top of the coals, lay a common red curved roof-tile, and another tile over it like a lid. This was his homemade crucible. The man had a mixture of salt, tamarind fruit, and burnt brick dust which he called his “medicine” for purifying of the gold. He dropped a lump of ore into the blistering mixture and let the fire “eat” it. After a while, the man lifted the gold out with a pair of tongs, let it cool, and studied it.
Then he replaced the gold in the crucible and blew the fire hotter than it was before. This process went on and on, the fire growing hotter and hotter. “The gold could not bear it so hot at first,” explained the goldsmith. “But it can bear it now. What would have destroyed it, has helped it.”
As the children watched with amazement as the gold was purified in the fire. One of the girls asked the man, “How do you know when the gold is purified?”
The old man answered, “When I can see my face in it [the liquid gold in the crucible], then it is purified.”
Job 23:10 says that our trials can turn to gold. God often times allows us to feel the fire of the furnace in our lives. The purpose … refinement. Refinement of our souls, refinement of our character. God allows the impurities of our life, our sin, or the sin of another against us, to be consumed by a holy fire. Trials often come and threaten to take us away with them, but God urges us to “press on for the goal that lies ahead.” (Phil 4:13). The goal again is refinement. Our loving God refuses to leave us as He found us. His work is deep and often hurts, but the end product is gold. It is in that gold that God’s character is truly reflected in us.
Amy Carmichael spent her adult life as a missionary in India. She wrote about her practical accounts of her work for children in books of spiritual guidance and poetry, born of a life steeped in prayer and the scriptures, and influenced by her wide-ranging reading of past Christian writers. Amy’s refinement allowed her to minister to the broken and lost in a country where her faith was not welcomed, except for those courageous enough to reach their hands out for God amidst the fire.
Words to Think About…
<>—HAST THOU NO SCAR?—<>
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot or side or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land.
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar? Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
leaned Me against a tree to die and rent,
by ravening beasts that compassed Me. I swooned.
Hast thou no wound? No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
and pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole.
Can he have followed far who has no wound or scar?”
– Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
“My first memory as a tiny child is this: after the nursery light had been turned low and I was quite alone, I used to smooth a little place on the sheet, and say aloud, but softly, to our Father, ‘Please come and sit with me.’ And that baby custom left something which recurs and is with me still. Our God is a God at hand, and ‘To Him who is everywhere, men come not by traveling but by loving.” -Amy Carmichael “Rose from Brier”
The deeper the sorrow, the less tongue it hath – the Talmud