I was watching a jewelry presentation on new technologies in tempering gold, which produced an effect on gold threads, which allowed the gold to stretch and return to it’s shape. By weaving 20 to 35 strands of the thread, the jewelers had made necklaces and bracelets that were stretchy enough to not need clasps. They could be stretched enough to go over one’s head or hand, and according to the maker, were stronger than any other kind of pattern used for jewelry because it didn’t kink, and dent; therefore, over time, it would not loose it’s value. It would not become unattractive or un-wearable, so he was willing to say that it was a lifetime investment. This jeweler also had gold threads wrapped over stretchy silicone, which made massive, more solid looking jewelry, which also stretched. And the thing that struck me was that he was interested in frequently saying something about the process of how they achieved this remarkable trait, while the sales girl was only all about how beautiful it was.
I was intrigued, that a metal held the properties to be made stretchy. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, because I know that part of the process for tempering any metal, including steel is to make it stronger, by making it flexible. The steel for sky-scrapers and bridges will break in the wind, if not tempered to a point where it withstands the wind and bends slightly. But of course, you would not want it so stretchy that it could not hold it’s shape. The same was true for the bracelet, since the jeweler wanted it to return to wrist size after stretching it over the hand.
They were gorgeous. Each gold thread had been diamond cut into patterns along the entirety of the thread, and this added sparkle as well as aided in weaving the flexible shape. The one thing the jeweler wanted people to know was that it was a heat process that set the memory into the metal, and made this possible. He said that they could not do this with 24 carat gold, which actually had the malleable properties built in, because it would stretch out but not return to it’s original shape. But by adding other metals which also gave the gold it’s various colors – platinum for white gold, and copper for rose gold – the gold content was reduced to 58%, which was exactly the right content to apply the heat process to and achieve the desired resiliency. This was the formula he said for 14 carat gold. He said we should always be proud to wear 14 carat gold because of its ability to withstand abuse more than purer forms of gold.
I guess we all know something about this. We’ve heard it all our lives, but this very moldable stretchy form to which this jeweler had taken the process, was refined to near perfection, in my mind. I thought of how, when God puts us through the fires of life and adds himself to our very makeup, it makes us so bent out of shape that we don’t know what shape we are in. Hammered and beaten and cut all to pieces, I don’t think we see the bigger picture of coming out of our trials being all sparkly and beautiful. Then, He heats up the circumstances of life and holds us to the fire more than before. Only then do we have memory molded into our very make up. We become flexible to withstand being stretched to extremes, but can bounce back, and return unscathed to beauty and form. And that beauty remains etched for all time, to remain valuable in its maker’s eyes. He is willing to guarantee his work for a lifetime of wear. The jeweler, who was from Italy, was so proud of his creation, and confirmed that it took weeks to make each piece. The process could not be shortened, because each step was necessary. There were no shortcuts to achieve the desired strength and beauty he purposed the piece to have.
God has included himself into the process of molding us. Like pure gold we hold great value to him, but when we become less of ourselves, and one with Him, we take on a flexibility that helps us give with the ebb and flow of life. We are no less gold, just gold plus that which makes us more than just something pretty to look at. We take on God’s strength and character. In a way, Jesus was like this jeweler, who took what was known about the properties of gold for thousands of years, and made it more useful than it had ever been before. As the sales girl, stretched the bracelet gently, the maker said, “Oh, stretch it more than that, it will not fail. It can stand much stretching and will always return to its perfect shape.” So she stretched it twice as far and it returned beautifully to a perfect bracelet once again.
Lord, I have been through some fires in life, that like the old saint, Job, I wanted to find you and bring my arguments. I wanted you to give me answers as to why must the fire be so hot! What value could my circumstances possibly have on becoming more like you, when, while going through the fire I was so bent out of shape that I didn’t even recognize myself, much less see you becoming one with my character? I certainly didn’t act like you. I knew you were there, I knew you allowed me to fall into my emotions and you didn’t mind at all. I knew you never accused me, saying, “How dare you ask me Why?” You let me groan from the pain, and cry out for help. You knew I thought it was more than I could bear. But rather than leave me, as with Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo, you joined me in the fire. In places where no one else could go with me, you were there. When the din of the intensity made it impossible for me to hear you, I could SCREAM to you, and it was OK. You never cared that I acted like a human and not like God. You simply made yourself the element of strength that would be bound to my future. And when I emerged exhausted from the process, you allowed me to simply spring back into shape, but now stronger, more beautiful, etched by your hand a permanent pattern of your design. Woven intricately into a new form, renewed in my mind, with a shiny new purpose. More valuable in my Maker’s eyes. Thank you for being the only one I have to answer to when I go through the fires of tempering. And thank you for becoming one with me, even when some would wrongfully judge me as being far from your presence. Because, Lord that is what people do. As Jesus said, “Father forgive them, because they just don’t understand.” And because that is just what You do. AMEN
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10