Zechariah 13:9 – This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, "They are my people," and they will say, "The Lord is our God." (NIV)
In Maleras, Sweden, I stood behind the rope in a fenced-off area of a glassmaking factory to watch a skilled craftsman as he used tiny diamond drills and ultrasonic tools to refine the details in a piece of crystal he was engraving. With practised ease, the master artist engraved animals and scenes from nature into the crystal. In order to do this, the engraver first made a pencil drawing of the object. When he was satisfied with all of the details, he engraved the shape on a plaster model, which was then used to make an iron mould. At this stage, the mould was sent to the glass workshop where hot molten crystal was cast in it.
Our guide told us, "When making crystal, fine sand is melted until it is the consistency of thick syrup. At this point, the piece is about 2066 degrees Fahrenheit."
The process reminded me of how God, the master craftsperson, refines our lives. He has a plan for our lives, but sometimes we have to go through the fire, or difficult times, until we are made pliable. It is only after we are made malleable in the fire that the Master is able to take our lives and refine them until they become pure and clear — just as the glassblower did to make crystal.
Prayer: God, mould us and cast us until we are pure and reflect Your workmanship in our lives. Amen.