Consuming Fire

Interesting factoid from my glass class on Saturday.  The glass you see, even as you read this on your screen, is glass that is actually in its frozen state.  Think about it…that glass you are looking at, can you bend it, mold it or shape it?  Nope.  Nada.  Never.  In order to melt glass, it has to be heated to a steamy temperature of 2600 degrees farenheit.  The ideal temperature for working with that molten glass is somewhere just below 24oo degrees farenheit.  So, a substance that is unbendable and unmoldable, is actually bendable and moldable when exposed to extreme heat.

How many of us, with our steely, stubborn spines, are no different?  How many of us have had to be exposed to “extreme temperatures” in our lives just to be bent and molded?

Another factoid.  See this beautiful piece of art (I know, I know…humility)…

Glass

The color you see inside the paperweight is added during the molding process.  You start with the clear glass and begin to mold it.  Then you “dip” the clear molten glass into little pieces of frozen glass.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  In order for the two to become one, it again has to be heated.  Without heating them together in the glory hole, the colored glass would not be bonded to the clear glass.

In our lives, we are just like that glass.  In order to become one with the Lord, we have to go into the glory hole with Him, walk through the fire and be joined with Him.  Now, thankfully I don’t really have to walk through the furnace.  But the Bible tells us that our God is a consuming fire, a jealous God (Deut 4:24).  Those things we try so hard to hold onto and put into His place in our hearts, He will burn away.  This process will be hot.  And if you’ve ever told a 2 year old over and over again that the stove is hot only to watch that same 2 year old touch it to see, you know that hot is painful.

But, just like this piece of glass I am so proud of, beauty can come from it.  We get so hung up on the process because that is what we see.  When I started out with a lump of molten glass, there was nothing beautiful about it.  All I saw was a blob of molten glass.  Then the tedious process began: shaping, adding color, reheating, reshaping, adding more glass, reshaping again, cooling.  But, I knew at the end, I would have something to be proud of.  But in life, we don’t always know that we are going to end up with something beautiful, do we?  We don’t see that trying time as shaping…it is pain.  We don’t see that challenge as adding color to our life…it is trying.  We don’t see that valley as cooling…it is dark.  If we could just see that all of those things in our life, hard as they may be, are just part of the plan of the Master at work creating His masterpiece.

In his book Destiny, Tony Evans talks about Michelangelo.  Michelangelo has been quoted as saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set it free.”  Tony Evans says, “Michelangelo could do this because he didn’t see what the marble was; he saw what the marble would be.  He saw a masterpiece.”

This is the beauty…just as Michelangelo could look at a jagged and not so pretty rock and see a masterpiece, God can look at us with our jagged and not so pretty sides and see a masterpiece.  Ephesians 2:10 says this, “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship).”  His handiwork…His workmanship.  When is the last time you felt like a masterpiece in progress?  Have you ever?

Corrie ten Boom, a hero of mine, tells this story.  “I once visited a weaver’s school where students were making beautiful patterns.  I asked, ‘When you make a mistake, must you cut it out and start from the beginning?’  A student said, ‘No.  Our teacher is such a great artist that when we make a mistake, he uses it to improve the beauty of the pattern.’  That is what the Lord does with our mistakes.  He is the greatest Artist, but we must surrender.  Surrender your blunders to the Lord.  He can use them to make the pattern of your life more beautiful.”

Oh my, isn’t that just a wonderful picture!  That those things that we think have defined us and scarred us for life are just beauty marks!

Read these words of the Apostle Paul…God knew what He was doing from the very beginning.  He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son.  The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored.  We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.  After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name.  After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself.  And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun.”  Romans 8:29-30 MSG (emphasis mine)

In the words of Mac Powell…”Yes our God He is a consuming fire, He reaches inside and He melts down this
cold heart of stone.”

Today, I am making it my goal to let Him continue to mold me and shape me into a masterpiece, to take this cold, ugly, misshapen heart of stone and make something beautiful…even through the fire.  How about you?

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