Something you may not know about me –I despise summer heat.
We only have a little AC unit in our window upstairs, so before bed I put box fans in the windows to pull in the evening cool air, and I close up the east side curtains. In the morning I frantically pull the fans out of the windows and close the curtains. Matt calls me the Window Nazi.
All the while I watch the calendar –how many more weeks until the great cool down that begins in August?
I inherit this inability to endure heat from my dad. After he went to be with the Lord, I joked that I knew heaven had to be 67 degrees and overcast. Or at least dad’s little corner of it.
How fitting that in the middle of July heat I am looking back on what I have entitled “The Smelting Year”. August of 2013 began with a new job I wasn’t prepared for. Putting our dog down in September. Then funeral in winter and wedding in spring. It was a year marbled with sundry other painful, humiliating, worrisome, and generally leg-sweeping experiences.
Which brings me to 2:48 a.m. in the summer of 2014 and the thought of Malachi 3:1-3.
And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come…But who can endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire…And he will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.
Do you see us in this passage –the future priesthood? Peter talks to the followers of Christ and tells them “you are a royal priesthood” (see 1 Peter 2:9-10) Those of us who follow Christ are the “sons of Levi” to whom the Lord refers in Malachi. And just like the priesthood of Levi, we are incapable of pulling off righteousness on our own. But God had a plan to do a great work of transformation in the hearts of his people.
In the difficulties we experience in life, we ask Why –why all this pain and struggle?
The answer: So that we, the chosen ones of God, the royal priesthood, may be purified in order to present offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Finally we will be able to do something right.
But wow is the process hot.
The Lord melts us down. Extreme heat but with a purpose.
Right now my husband is picturing my summer whining and how I can’t even walk to the mailbox without coming back with pathetic complaints about the heat. We tend to whine our way through the refining process, complaining and moaning about how much life stinks and asking Why me, why me, why me?
During my Smelting Year, I said to my sister-in-law, The Lord must really love us to allow this much difficulty to hit our family in one season. We know we’re being purified.
All the impurities gone.
Thank the Lord he cares enough to make us holy.
So, from this heat-hating Window Nazi come a few questions.
- Will we choose to always view our difficulties as part of the refining process?
- We will humble ourselves in the furnace and allow God to work?
- Will we complain or give thanks for what God is accomplishing in us?
- Will we keep on our lips the question, Lord, what are you trying to teach me through this difficult circumstance?
It’s hot. I know.