The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.
My theology tends to lean toward grace, love, and peace. And I have not always viewed these concepts completely. Even though the Bible speaks of pruning in a positive fashion, I have long thought that lopping off some growth from a plant is punitive. (But watching the drama of crepe myrtles and azaleas every year has proven otherwise.)
The same applies with testing the heart. The writer of Proverbs praises the work of a crucible and a furnace for purifying silver and gold. And while I love the shiny product for each, I have often felt that the process of burning away impurities seemed violent. My view has been limited.
Now we read, in the same silver and gold sentence that the Lord tests the heart. Maybe some of the struggles and challenges that break our hearts are actually part of the process of making our hearts and souls stronger and purer, opening us up to grace, love, and true peace. Maybe.
Dear God, help me to remember that You love me. And help me to seek a pure heart and soul as I follow my Lord and Savior Jesus, who showed me Your grace, love, and peace. Amen.