«And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose» (Romans 8:28).
IN HIS BOOK 502 ilustraciones selectas [502 Selected Illustrations], José Luis Martinez mentioned some very interesting data about mercury. He said that in China, a long time ago, there was a peculiar method to work with mercury to make it ideal for the fabrication of mirrors. The method was the following: when the mercury was put into the fire to be smelted, a worker checked the process little by little with a special ladle. With that ladle, he took out all the froth that floated to the cauldron’s surface, which was the waste material. That is, it was everything that served no purpose. This work was done constantly until all the «surplus» was eliminated. When, in looking at the surface, the image of the worker was clearly reflected, he knew that the mercury was ready to be changed into a mirror. That was the moment to turn off the fire.
God uses a similar method with all of us. From heaven, He sees us as an artist who is polishing us. He sees us going through various trials, troubles, difficulties, and tribulations of life. He sees how the fire we are going through is transforming us, and understands that that is our process of smelting until we reflect His Son. We all have to go through that process. Little by little, the Lord reviews the progress, coming near to check whether once all that is not needed in our lives is eliminated (and to which we cling so much before we go through the fire of the trial), the image of His beloved Son Jesus Christ is reflected clearly in us, in our character, in our way of living. If it is, then He says, «Patricia is ready to be a true Christian. Now I can use her for what always was my intention for her.»
The apostle Paul says, «(I am) confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ» (Philippians 1:6). I also am convinced of that because I see it in my own life. That is why there is no sense in avoiding the trials or considering them as something undesirable. If they polish us, transform us, and give us the humility we need to depend on God, they are an essential resource for our Christian growth.