My mother used to teach ceramics. For those of you who don’t know, ceramics is the art of pouring liquid clay into all kinds of molds from figurines to casserole dishes. The clay is then left to dry in the mold. Once dry, the clay is hard but very fragile and completely unusable. It’s called greenware. The fragile greenware is carefully scrapped and sanded so the rough edges are removed and imperfections in the clay are filled, and smoothed. Once all that is done - that sanding and scraping off of the rough edges, and the piece is carefully inspected, the greenware is sent for firing. In the basement of our house there were two big kilns - huge ovens for firing the greenware. I remember how hot those kilns would get. There were times when Mom and Dad would have to wait a full 24 hours for the kiln to cool down enough just so the lid could be opened. The created ceramic pieces would still sit in the kiln for an hour or more before Mom would carefully lift them out. Even then, she often used oven mitts because the pieces would still be very warm.
I remember some of the many pieces of greenware that Mom would prepare for firing. Some were just given a coat of white glaze, and maybe a decal or two. But there were other pieces: vases that had rich, deep colors, mugs and plates edged with 24kt gold, clock faces with real silver, garden Gnomes that could brave the outside elements, and casserole dishes that could be used for baking. It was these pieces - the ones that were most beautiful or most useful, that Mom had to put through the kiln-firing process over and over again. I remember all of the pieces started out basically the same - they had a base coat. But I also remember that each time another decal was added, or a beautiful rich gloss, or a touch of gold or silver - each time something of beauty was added to those ceramic pieces, they would have to be placed back in the kiln and put through the fire to make sure that the quality that had been added, would last.
God’s Word tells us that He is the Refiner’s Fire (Zec. 13:9; Mal 3:2b). Are you the Lord’s greenware? Are your rough edges being scrapped, and sanded? Or are you in the fire? Be assured that when you feel the Master’s sanding block, or the heat of the Consuming Fire, you are being refined as pure gold. Something very beautiful is being added to who are you.