Purifying and purposeful

The house where my late parents lived for most of their married life is in the process of being sold.  As you can imagine, there is a lot of sorting out to be done!   Last week I spent a considerable time in the garage where my father had his workbench.  He had many happy hours there, making and mending things, though as the years went by increasing frailty made that difficult and finally impossible.  His grandson, as a little boy, once told us, with absolute certainty, “My grandpa can make anything.”  Not quite; but a grandfather who mended precious toys or made bows and arrows and showed you how to use them was the right sort to have!

Of course, he rarely threw anything away, for who knew when it might come in handy – and it often did.  So there was I, going through old boxes and tins, full of rusty screws and nails and bolts, pieces of wire, tools which measured in ‘thous’ not millimetres, and numerous bits and bobs whose purpose I could only guess at.  What should be done with them?  Not just throw them away, surely.  I have an enterprising neighbour who has recently built himself a forge, and he tells me that pieces of metal, however small or rusty, can be melted down and ‘re-purposed’.  Fire, controlled by the hands of one who knows what he is doing, can be both purifying and purposeful.  That is surely what the Psalmist was thinking when he wrote:

Oh, bless our God, you peoples!  And make the voice of His praise to be heard, Who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved.  For You, O God, have proved (tested) us; You have refined us as silver is refined.  You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs.  You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfilment.  Psalm 66:8-12

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say than to you He has said -

You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?


In every condition – in sickness, in health,

In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth;

At home or abroad, on the land, on the sea,

As days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.


Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed!

I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid:

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.


When through the deep waters I cause thee to go,

The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.


When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;

The flame shall not hurt thee: I only design

Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.


The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose

I will not, I will not desert to its foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!


‘K’ in Rippon’s selection