At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: But the Lord trieth the hearts.Proverbs 17:3
In this proverb we appear to have ascending layers of affliction. The first two are “afflictions” in the physical world, and then the third has to do with the human heart.
Silver contains dross, and the refining pot is used in order to remove that dross. Heat is applied to the silver in such a way as to burn off the impurities. The same thing holds true for gold, and so the furnace is for gold. As gold is more valuable, it is more important to remove the gold’s impurities. After these two examples, we are told that the Lord tries the heart. What the refining pot is for silver, what the furnace is for gold, so the Lord’s testing is of the human heart.
So this trying would have to be in the nature of trouble or affliction. The point of this testing is to remove corruptions. Holding onto this truth is one of the ways it will achieve its purpose. If we give way to murmuring or complaining about it, it will have the opposite effect—it will introduce new corruptions.
The thing to remember is that what seems like a really bad thing is actually a really good thing. Like a woman going through the pains of childbirth, there is joy at the end of it. “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world” (John 16:21, NKJV). “Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, Like a woman in birth pangs . . .There the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies” (Micah 4:10, NKJV).
We all have troubles. Job says that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. This means that these are words of true consolation. There is a point to all of it.
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; That I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71).