In Malachi 3:3 the Bible tells us that, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This is a very good descripttion of God, unfortunately not many people know what it means. In order to understand the descripttion someone must know what a refiner of silver has to do.
There was once a woman that wondered what a refiner of silver had to do with the silver so she set out to find an answer. The woman made an appointment with a silversmith so that she could watch the process. She didn't tell the silversmith that she had interest in the refining process because it was a metaphor for God. She simply told the silversmith that she was interested in the process.
She watched the silversmith as he held the piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. The silversmith told the woman that he had to hold the piece of silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest in order to burn away all the impurities.
The silversmith continued that not only did he have to sit there and hold the silver the entire time but he also had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time. If the piece of silver was left in the fire for too long then it would be destroyed.
After quietly watching the process the woman finally spoke up. The woman asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" The silversmith smiled at her and answered "I know the piece of silver is done when I can see my image in it."
The process of refining silver is a perfect example of God. God will put us through a lot in our life, much like a piece of silver has to be put in the fire. Not only will God put us in the fire put he'll put us in the very hottest part of the fire.
God puts us through the fire for our own good though. Like a piece of silver, going through the fire will burn away all the impurities in our life. But God doesn't just throw us in the fire and leave us there to burn. Like a silversmith God holds us and watches us the entire time in order to be able to pull us from the fire at the right time so that we won't be destroyed.
Then once we've been refined, once we've gone through the fire and had all our impurities burned away, that is when God can see his image in us.