February 19, 2008

We made it home safe from my treatment last Wednesday. We ran into a lot of snow on the way home on Tuesday evening so we stopped in Elkhart, Indiana, which is about the half way point, and then finished the drive early Wednesday morning. Despite traveling in the winter, God has kept us safe going back and forth to Chicago. I was really fortunate while I was there to run into some familiar faces; we saw a couple that I have been in contact with through the mail for several weeks now. The people who work at the hospital are truly amazing people, there is one nurse there that I have gotten to be friends with along with members of the pastoral staff. I was able to finally speak to the pastor who led the "Journey of Hope" seminar that I went to back in April of 2007. Despite what I am going out there for, I feel like God is really blessing the time. One of the woman on the pastoral staff sat down to talk with my mom and I about the great report I received from the doctors in January. Before she left, she gave me a piece of paper with a story on it. I wanted to share what it was about. It talks about several women in a Bible study who were reading out of Malachi. Chapter 3 verse 3 says this: " He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." The women wanted to research this to see what it really meant about God's nature towards us. One of the women called a silversmith and wanted to watch him work. He held a piece of silver right in the middle of the fire, explaining that when you are refining silver, you have to hold it right in the middle where the flames are the hottest to burn away its impurities. The silversmith also stated that he not only had to hold the silver, but he could not take his eyes off of it so that it would not be destroyed from staying in the fire too long. The woman kept thinking of this verse in Malachi, keeping in mind how God wanted it to be applied to our lives. She asked the silversmith "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and said " Oh, that's easy-- when I see my image in it."

This story has really stayed with me this week. There are so many minutes in a day. I could very easily spend them wondering why I am going through what I am. I know that God touched me in September.... in fact, I know He touched me two years ago when I first started this journey. But for some reason, He allowed this thorn to remain in order to refine me. We as humans were made in the image of God. I truly want Him to be able to see His image in me. If that means being right in the heat of the fire, so be it. I know His eyes have not left me!

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