This time something that was talked about a lot in my blessing was trials and enduring with faith. At one point Hubby said, "There's a scripture in Malachi that you're familiar with." I was quite puzzled. That evening I opened up my scriptures. There are only two things that I highlighted in Malachi: the verses about tithing, and the verses about Elijah turning the hearts of the children to the fathers.
Neither of those seemed to apply to the topic at hand. At the end of the tithing verses, it says,
"...prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."That's a great reminder of God's unending love for us and of His desire to bless us. But it didn't feel like that was the one I was supposed to keep in mind this year.
So I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to guide me, to help me recognize what He wanted me to learn. Then I started reading.
When I came to Malachi 3:2-3, it hit me.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
The Refiner's Fire! I am familiar with this symbol!
However, even though these verses are quoted two other places in scripture, I don't feel it's the most helpful reference. Malachi seems to be talking about a specific group and event, rather than general instruction to a wider audience. And it doesn't give much clue in itself of what it means, what the significance is.
Of course, that didn't stop me. I felt prompted to look up other places in the scriptures where it talks about the refiner's fire and found these great ones.
1 Nephi 20:10 For behold, I have refined thee; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Quoted almost word-for-word from Isaiah 48:10)
Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for this reminder. Life is meant to be a test. The tests and trials we endure are like the refiner's fire. They hurt. But in the end, we will come out better for it. We can be more pure if we submit ourselves to the Master's plan. And then, as quoted earlier, if we are faithful through our challenges, then the windows of heaven will be opened to us and our loving Heavenly Father will bless us beyond our imaginations.
This experience I had also strengthened my testimony of the Priesthood Blessings. Hubby is not a scriptorian. He doesn't put any thought into what he's going to say before giving blessings. He largely doesn't even remember what he said afterwards. If this was just him saying things to me, he would not have told me to look up a scripture in Malachi. That would be totally random. If you were to ask him to name 5 books in the Old Testament, Malachi would not be one he would say.
The counsel to remember something from Malachi clearly came from God.
But why was I told to look in Malachi? Clearly those other two scripture verses I found are more edifying. But the book of Malachi is short. Only 4 brief chapters. Very easy to read through in one night. And the topic I was supposed to find really jumped out at me quickly. If I had been prompted to search Isaiah, 1 Nephi, or Zechariah, I could have been reading for weeks and still not be sure what I was supposed to find considering they're filled with so much good stuff! Plus, I needed the reminder about blessings pouring through the windows of heaven from Malachi.
But why wasn't I just told in the blessing, "Remember the parable of the refiner's fire."? Sometimes we need to work for it. I wouldn't have gained the aforementioned testimony of this coming from God if Hubby had simply said that. Also, when we have to go searching for greater understanding, we're more likely to remember what we learned.
I've read several bloggers that pick a theme each year for their family. A guiding principle that they constantly reflect on and internalize. I'm going to do that for the first time this year.
I'm going to be teaching the kids about the refiner's fire and making a poster so we constantly have a reminder.
Life is hard. But if we endure with faith, we will learn and grow and be better for it. The kids aren't too young to start learning and understanding that.
You can watch a great, short video about the spiritual implications of the Refiner's Fire here or here.
And here are three YouTube videos about the history of gold and the refining process:
Modern Marvels documentary
Short video of refining by hand
How It's Made clip