Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Refiner's Silver

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver;

                         -- Malachi 3:2-3

A year ago I had a friend who died after a fairly short, very intense battle with cancer.  He was in his 40's, had a wife and family and this wasn't supposed to happen.  It was wrong; there are so many, many ways it was wrong. It's been a watershed experience.  The confident, certain-of-it-all Mark has been replaced by a Mark that is confident of only one thing: that he knows nothing.  I've been broken down to the most humble of all empty places, that of not knowing - anything.  I wonder if all people, as they get older, come to realize how little they know versus the exuberance of their youth, when the world was a tiger that only needed it's tail to be grasped and slung the right way and life happened Right.

Because of the nearness of the death anniversary I found myself reflecting on the concept of rightness.  The opposite of right is wrong.  My thought is that EVERY action has a right side and a wrong side.  In the same way that we can say, "Life isn't fair," we could also say, nothing in life can happen right, without a concurrent wrong lurking somewhere -- even if it's invisible to us at the time.  I got quite cynical for a moment and asked myself, "Can there be ANYTHING that is right, ever?"  I concluded that, no there probably isn't because we humans are imperfect and limited.  But there is one solitary right act, and that would be a redeeming act.  A redeeming act is one where all the wrongs are gathered and forged into the right.  This is something that, obviously, only God can make happen.  I can list a good dozen or more travesties and wrongs in my friend's death, or anyone's death for that matter.  Only one Almighty has the knowledge and power to gather all the wrongs together and with His refining fire make silver of their lives without any wrong remaining at all.  And, this is the loving God we serve and for Him I am grateful.

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