Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. It is beautiful in its pure form and has had an enduring role in cultures throughout history. However, silver is rarely found in its pure form in nature. Typically, silver is found in silver-bearing ores and a typical ore might contain only .085% silver. Less than 1/10 of 1%! The rest of the ore is just plain rock with some lead, some copper and some brittle, silvery-white metalloid pieces mixed in...I mean, c’mon, I’m not claiming to be a geologist over here. Therefore --> Ore = big rock chunk.
However, the process for getting silver out of that rock is pretty extensive and I think it deserves a good discussion from this non-scientist gal. The process to remove this precious metal and bring it to its true beauty is intense. First, the ore, or large rocks composed of metals, are mined and gathered together. Then, the big rock chunks are crushed and ground to very fine particles. After the ore is crushed, the smelting process begins. Smelt is a super fun word to say (try saying it 3 times for full effect) and smelting is a process that involves heating the metal beyond its melting point. The material is heated in a crazy-hot furnace and the silver begins to separate itself from the impurities. Often in the smelting process, outside elements are added that actually attach themselves to the impurities, which includes the silver particles.
After this first smelting process, insoluble particles, called slime or dross, gradually accumulate at the bottom of the large refining tank. Among the insoluble materials is the precious metal silver, which was originally present in the ore. However, now we have pieces with much higher concentrations of silver. The ore basically goes from less than 1/10 of 1% silver to more than 20% silver through the crushing and the heating process.
Then, the process is started again. This slime is smelted (such a fun word to say!) - heated to beyond its melting point - and the silver is able to separate from all of the remaining impurities.
Serious business. Intense stuff right here, folks.
And, God often talks about us as being like silver. In fact, this whole discussion on refining silver came about when I was reading through Malachi. In chapter 3 verses 2-3:
But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal or like a strong soap that whitens clothes. He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away. He will purify the priests, refining them like gold or silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.
I have recently been learning that God is closer to me than I could ever imagine possible and that He is truly a good Father. This is something I have known in my mind for quite some time now, but it has just recently transferred down to my heart. The truth that God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and everything in between, is actually a good Father who loves me as His daughter, His child, is overwhelming. God is a good Father who longs to take care of me and provide for me. A Father who has unlimited resources at His disposal. This is my Father and the revelation in my heart that He is good has revolutionized the way I interact with Him and the way I read the Scriptures.
Even this scripture in Malachi. Now, I don’t know about you, but for so long I have read about God’s judgements against His people for doing wrong as an, “I told you so!” moment. Like God was up in Heaven just hoping someone would follow Him and not sin, but when they did mess up He was like, “Well, now I’ve got to destroy you. I mean, I didn’t want to, but you just messed up too much this time. I’m going to destroy you and just start over with this small group of people that I chose at random. So, learn from your mistakes and don’t make me judge you again.” Then, He goes back to sitting and watching and hoping that His children will follow Him.
Sounds a little facetious (another fun word), but that is what I have come to realize was my mentality relating to God. I was reading the life-giving scriptures with such judgement in my heart. So, what does this have to do with silver? I’m glad you asked.
Psalm 66:10 states, “You have tested us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.” Now, with my old mindset, I would have braced myself for the painful process of refining in order to make me a better Christian. I would have willingly said, “Yes” to God but knowing that He was just getting all the evil out of me.
However, since the revelation that God is my loving Father who wants to take care of me has planted itself firmly in my heart, I realize I have been reading the scriptures through tainted lenses. It says that God is LOVE and there is NO FEAR in Love. So, God does not sit up in Heaven worrying about me disappointing Him yet again. He cannot worry because worry is caused by fear and there is no fear in God.
With this new and enlightened understanding, I read these scriptures through the soft, gentle and loving voice of my good Father. He sees me as silver. He knows that while I may look like a big, ugly chunk of rock, I am really only the silver being covered up my a whole lot of impurities. So, He brings me through the refining process. He says, “My daughter. I love you so much. I will take you through a refining process to judge all of the impurities that have attached themselves to you. Because, that is not who you are. You are silver. I will be with you in this refining process and I will watch closely. Then, you will finally see yourself as I already see you: as silver.”
And, it’s so, so good.
I’m so grateful to have such a loving Father that can see me as I truly am: silver.
A Father that can see through the ugliness of all the crap the world has put on me.
He can see me as silver even though I may appear to be more than 99.9% rock chunks of far lesser value. I might even feel like I actually am the lesser valued ore. I mean, I know that I have silver inside of me because I am a follower of Christ. But at times, I can view myself as a rock chunk with a little silver deep inside that people sometimes see when the light hits it at just the right angle. But, most of the time I feel like a normal rock.
And, I think you might feel similar. It’s hard to see ourselves as silver when we have been weighed down and covered up by gunk. Sometimes it is even preached in Christian circles that we are dirty sinners with nothing good inside. But, no. God creates masterpieces. He only creates good. And, He is the only creator of LIFE, which includes you.
That is precisely why He brings us through the refining process. He so wants to remove all of the dross and the slime that is bogging us down. He wants to refine every single part of our lives so that all that is left is silver. All of the impurities are gone. All of the lesser valued metals are melted away. There is only silver that remains and that silver is stunning.
In fact, silver has such unique qualities. One of the neatest qualities I learned in my research is that pure silver reflects all visible light. It exhibits the highest reflectivity of any metal. So, while the refining process to remove silver from chunky old rock is intense and full of crushing and heating and smelting, the byproduct is incredibly beautiful.
After that intense process of refining, we become pure silver.
We, as pure silver, reflect 100% of the Light of Heaven.
And, it is unbelievably stunning.
with Love, always,
Hi! We're the Hoeckles.
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