“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Purifying Fire (Part 3)

Has been a busy week, but I'm back to my little series again. For those of you who have been following, I've been sharing my thoughts and insights on the stanza from the poem below, which I found in Streams In The Desert during my devotional reading. I've already blogged on the third and fourth lines, and today I'll cover the first. I'm thinking I'll have one more in this series, then move on to something else. I hope these thoughts have blessed you.

Has He purified you with the fire from above?
2Is He first in your thoughts, does He have all your love?
3Is His service your choice, and your sacrifice sweet?
4Is your doing His will both your drink and your meat?
5Do you run at His calling with glad eager feet?
(Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman, August 7)

The whole idea of purification by fire has always intrigued me. It sounded counterintuitive, somehow. I mean, if you want to make something clean and pure, you wash it, right? (and yes, I know that's another metaphor the Bible uses to talk about purification) How would fire make something clean? I associate fire with destruction, not cleanliness.

Yet, often a forest fire will clear everything away, but as time passes, a whole new growth begins. And I know there are several precious metals where the only way to bring out their true beauty, their "shine," is to burn away the impurities.

Becoming clean is not necessarily a comfortable process. It hurts. Removing the impurities isn't as easy as sprinkling a little water over our "dirtyness" and calling us cleansed. It requires us to suffer a bit (or more) to become more and more pure--more and more like Christ.

Watching my husband suffer through the after-affects of three brain surgeries has not been a pleasant experience. It has been, in a word, painful. But the trust I have in God, the love for others, the empathy I feel, the encouragement I freely give, were built in me through those experiences. The perfection of Christ--the purification by fire--has, to a small extent, been put into me. I'm nowhere near "there," but, praise God, I am closer than I was yesterday. And, as I continue to live in the flames of God's work in me (and we are ALL in the flames) and choose to see them from God's perspective, He will continue to burn away the impurities of my flesh and make me more like His Son.

Heavenly Father, as a human, I often wish for the easy road, for purification and perfection from a light drizzle of water. Help me, Lord, to realize that true purification needs to come through trials of fire. Help me to see these trials from Your perspective, and to not fight them. Help me to learn from my trials, and to grow more and more like You because of them. Thank You, Lord, for continuing to mold me, through fire, into the image of Your Son.


  1. I often wish for the easy road too. Oh, who am i kidding, I always wish for it. But learning to lean and depend is a start, and there I am with you. Powerful post, Joanne.

  2. Joanne:
    What can I write that could say it better? I've known the embrace of God's flames this week in my own life.

    Nothing that anyone else would notice outwardly, but rather an internal fire that desperately wants to purify my thoughts. It has been a holy burning, but it has been hard, and I don't think that we're close to being through.

    I'm so blessed to be able to surf through blogland and feel the support of so many who've walked similar cleansings.

    You've hung a full bag for me today. Thanks for keeping to the pen, even when its hard.


  3. I'm going to have to go back and read the rest of these. Powerful message, Joanne.


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