Sitting at the claim watching my husband prospect, I was again looking for what lesson God wanted to show me. I am always reminded of the scriptures that talk of searching for treasure when we are at one of the claims.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 2 Corinthians 4:6-9
My husband has started using a different machine called a dry washer. My simplified idea is that you shovel dirt in on the first layer, which slides downthrough a funnel to the next layer. The machine basically puffs the dirt up in hope that the heavier gold will fall down into the ripples.
He no longer has to sift out the larger material with the dry wash. He can shovel it right in, rocks and all. He will usually toss the bigger rocks to the side, as he loosens the dirt with his pick or shovel. It makes a pretty good pile, but is less work for the machine.
He tells me he should run the material two or three times to make sure that he gets most of the gold. In the past, the process has been cut short while I am with him. Initially it was by error, but twice now it has been because of rain. Actually watching the process is all new to me.
As he completed his first run through of the material, there was a large pile of rocks on the front side of the washer. These rocks fall off because they could not fit through the grate on the first part of the machine that lets the dirt funnel down into the through the dry washer. On the back side is the dirt that had been processed by the machine. Some dirt and the gold is left in the ripples of the machine for the concentrate he will hand pan when we return home.
After finishing running all the dirt that he planned to process for the day, he moved his dry washer to the other side of the finished dirt pile, to make for easier shoveling.
I was surprised that the second time he ran the material, there were again rocks on the front side. I didn’t understand how they made it through the process the first time. He told me sometimes, the rocks land just perfect on the grate to slip through. A couple of the larger rocks were just from the ground around his processed pile. The third run, he did not move the washer machine and very little continued to fall on the front side. It appeared to just be finer rocks or dust from the machine speed.
I also looked in the hole where he was digging and noticed that there is a very large rock that he has been digging around. From the outside looking in, it looks rather ominous.
I thought about how this is such a great picture of how God works in our life. He has to remove so much to get to the treasure He sees in us. As we draw closer to Him, He can toss some things aside from our life. He has to work on us in layers, digging deep, and often around big boulders we are not ready to have removed.
All the while there is this giant thing in our life, a bolder of sort, that God wants to remove. He knows how dangerous that could be for us if our foundation is not firm in the knowledge of who He is. So he just keeps working around it until we are ready for Him to remove it. He knows it is not something we can remove on our own.
He continues to work in our life. There are things that He allows to pass through the initial process. But He continues to refine us, removing more and more of the things that are not like Him. We are renewed by His Word, and those truths begin to drop down and become what remains. All the while, the things of this world are being slowly processed away. It gets less and less, but it becomes finer in detail.
When I allowed God to get hold of my life, it was easy to set aside the promiscuity and drugs. I stopped drinking every weekend. I stopped cussing, so much. I admit a word will still come out every now and then. I think of this layer of work as the things people typically say Christians don’t do. Although it is a work of God, it can usually be an intentional choice on our side to refrain from the behaviors.
Honestly for a long while in my life I was great staying in the first stage. I could look at the pile of large rocks God had removed from my life and see change. I didn’t realize I needed to be processed again and again. I was looking like a Christian and that was good enough to me.
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.””
I am glad that although I thought I was done, God knew I needed more work. He didn’t stop working on me, even though I drastically slowed His progress with my actions. I went to church, and at times His presence would penetrate my shell, or a Word would challenge my status quo.
He started to remove other things off my life. I can remember thinking that pastor’s were preaching directly to me. The enemy had convinced me I was the only one dealing with issues, so obviously the preacher had to be talking to me. When I ignored that promptings, I would find the same message being preached by two to three televangelists. I knew He was trying to get my attention. Eventually I surrendered to the next processing He wanted to take me through.
I began to put the needs of others before my own. It was a big change for a girl who thought the world revolved around her. I admit I still had my priorities wrong because it was other people, not my families needs, that I was attending to, but it was a start. It took many rounds of processing to get to God, spouse, children, family, church, others. Sometimes I still miss the mark, but I know He is working on getting the treasure in that area.
Another area He was working was my speech. I have always been straightforward, but my bluntness could often be intentionally ruthless. I was a hurting person, who hurt others purposefully. My words were a precision tool of destruction. God used a lot of things to bring change there. God doesn’t waste anything, even secular training to teach His children. I am still straightforward, but more often than not, I can now speak the truth in love. I can hold my tongue when its not beneficial. I can bring life and encouragement, even in correction when I submit my speech to Him.
God has continued to work through some of the more noticeable things that others could still see, but were often blind spots to me. I know there are still areas He is working, and I am okay with receiving continued correction. I realize the Lord prunes and disciplines those He loves, and that He has been pruning a lot more than He has had to disciple as time goes on in my surrendered relationship with Him.
A few years back, I started to engage in an intense discipleship process. It was then, that God started processing the third cycle. He began showing me internal thoughts that were still shaping my actions. I began work on the internal side of transformation. He began pulling out roots of rejection. In a deep time of prayer, He revealed to me that I did not truly trust Him. I saw the religious stronghold in my life, the works mentality that deeply engrained in my life, and how I allowed past failures and my perceived expectations to keep me from stepping out where I knew He was directing my steps.
Letting God process the piles in our life, takes a lifetime. I want it to be a one and done processed pile. It has been thirty-seven years and He is still working on my piles! I realize I can’t reach perfection this side of heaven, if I could I would not need Him anymore.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 1 Corinthians 15:49
Some things can easily be tossed aside when we become a Christian. God will start to work on refining us so that our witness is strong before others as we submit to Him. God continues to work around the big areas in our life, refining and pruning until we are ready to have the big things removed that have so shaped our life. God will continue to work on the areas of our life that have been shaped through our past, the thoughts that are so deeply engrained we don’t even realize how they have taken us off His best path for our life.