Shelter in Place with Joni: A 7-Day Devotional Reading Plan

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


The Refiner’s Fire 

Little words can make a difference. Consider Malachi 3:3, where the prophet calls to attention the image of the refiner who stokes the flames and watches the dross burn away until he can see his reflection in a cauldron of pure gold. This old illustration describes how the Lord refines us in the fire. He turns up the heat on our trials until all the impurities, sins, and selfishness come bubbling to the surface of our soul. And then, like a refiner of gold, God skims off the dross until he can see the reflection of his face in our lives.

One day as I read this verse, one little word caught my attention. It says, “He will sit like a refiner.” What an encouragement the word “sit” was to me! It means that God is not going to get up and walk away from whatever trial I’m going through. He’s not going to get distracted or wander off into something else while my trial is heating up. God is going to sit there, carefully tending to the circumstances around me.

This comforting thought encouraged me so much in this wheelchair of mine, because some days it’s so hard. I’m not a plaster-of-paris saint with this disability—sometimes the discomfort takes my breath away. But no pain can match the overwhelming comfort in knowing that God sits over my trial. He will let that discomfort go on for only so long; and my goal is to learn my lesson, confess whatever sin, refocus my faith, or quit wandering off the path—whatever God’s purpose might be. I want to agree with my Refiner, the Perfecter and Purifier of my faith. I want to do everything I can from my end so that God really can see the reflection of his Son in my life. 

If you’re facing a trial today, remember that the Lord doesn’t wander away while you’re in pain. He won’t take a vacation; he will sit there, watching over you until your faith is refined like gold. That’s a promise from the Lord, our Refiner.


God, I believe that you are present with me and mysteriously at work on me through my difficulties. Refine my faith!