Friday, July 20, 2012

Silver Refined

Argh!  It has been...way too long...since I posted a Blogging for Books review.  I'm a little surprised they haven't kicked me out of the program yet.  So, without further ado (and with fervent wishes that they will still be willing to give me actual paper copies of books), here ya go.

I was super excited to receive my review copy of As Silver Refined: Answers to Life's Disappointments by Kay Arthur.  I love the premise of this book, that what we regard as disappointments in life may really be God's appointments, that he's using those disappointments to make us more like Christ.  The idea is that our circumstances are actually the flames of God's grace, intended to burn away the sin and undesirable elements in our lives, leaving us pure, just like refined silver.

You see, silver doesn't just come out of the ground all shiny and beautiful--it's buried in rocks, mixed with imperfections.  To purify the silver, a refiner first crushes the ore into smaller pieces, and places them in a crucible.  He places the crucible over a fire and the ore softens.  The temperature of the fire must be kept exactly right--not too hot, not too cool.  The silver melts first, and the solid impurities rise to the surface and are skimmed away.  As the crucible continues to heat, more imperfections rise to the surface and are skimmed off.  The refiner continues this process, heating and skimming, never leaving the fire, but constantly watching and tending the silver.

After a while, he builds the fire even hotter, still skimming impurities away as they rise to the surface.  After many hours of careful tending, the silver is pure--the refiner can see his reflection in the molten silver.

Kay Arthur equates this process of refining silver to our lives.  She asserts that God allows trials in our lives to expose our imperfections and purify us, but that even in the heat of the flames, God is always there, always in control, always watching, always caring for us.  And when we have come through that refining fire, we are pure, reflecting God's image to the world.  I love that analogy.

The author also suggests that, because we know that these circumstances in our lives are allowed to bring us closer to God, we should stop fighting against them, that we should allow these circumstances to accomplish what God wants them to, and that when we face trials, we should be asking God what he wants to teach through the situation. 

Like I said, I love the premise of the book--it is so spot on for my life, for all of our lives, and makes so much sense.  I did not, however, enjoy the book.  It was a very slow read because of its repetitiveness.  Long after I thought the author should have moved on, she was still hammering away at a previous point.  This book could easily be shortened to 1/3 its length without losing its message.

I do like the study guide at the back.  There are additional scripture readings and several questions about each chapter of the book, and with 13 chapters, this would work well for a Bible study group.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

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