On Being Refined

In the last few weeks, two library books that I read had an impact on me.

The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow is the biography of the author’s grandmother. The account tells of a teenager who conceived as a result of rape but deeply loved her baby girl and made the difficult decision to give her child up for adoption. Throughout her long life with many difficult trials, the mother never forgot her child and always longed for her. When she was in her 90’s, she prayed that God would allow her to meet her child. Through various circumstances, the mother and daughter were reunited and the families are enjoying building new relationships.

Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy is an account of the authors’ relationship and marriage. The Murphys were college students talking of marriage when Ian was in a very serious accident. He was in a coma for over a year and continues to recover from and live with a brain injury. Throughout the years of therapy and medical intervention, Larissa stayed committed to Ian. Eventually, they were married and continue to grow in their relationship with each other and with God. Larissa is very open about her emotions and how God is using tragedy to refine her.

In both of these books, I was struck by the deep trials through which the individuals walked. Yet God is creating something beautiful out of each situation.

In science, our daughter is currently studying gems and metals. I was reminded of the refining process that these materials go through to become a beautiful or useful product. Her science book shows pictures of the raw material beside the polished and refined item. What a difference!

In my own life, I can say that it is through the difficult times that I have grown the most spiritually.  When trials come, I am reminded of how much I need my Heavenly Father.  I think of several people I know who have recently walked through tough circumstances.  I see their joy and faith shine, despite their grief and pain.  If we allow God to work in our lives, trials can make us more loving, kind, gentle, humble, patient.

Hebrews 12: 7,11 says “Endure hardship as discipline…. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Romans 5:3-4 “Not only so, but we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Difficult times and tragedies are not something we seek out, but it is through those times that our Heavenly Father seeks to refine our character and make us more beautiful and useful.



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