(Theodore Cuyler, "God's Light on Dark Clouds")
"I have refined you in the furnace of affliction."
Some afflictions are sent by God—to purify character. God sits as a Refiner beside His furnace. He heats it until the metal melts—and the dross surfaces and is taken away. He keeps His silver in the furnace—until He can see His own face reflected in the clear metal of the heart. Then the affliction has done its work. There is such a wretched amount of self-will and pride and covetousness and unbelief even in the best of Christians—that they require the refining-furnace very often.
It is a wholesome process—to be "mowed down" occasionally. The grass in every lawn requires to be cut down by a mower. The oftener it is mowed—the richer and the thicker is the growth. The lawn never looks so beautiful, as after the sharp-edged mower has gone over it. I have observed that some Christians have never appeared so attractive in their humility and heavenly-mindedness, as when God's mowing-machine has been passed over them!