I’ve wondered: why gold?
Aside from the obvious, I mean, are there other reasons for gold being a standard God is working to mine in us?
That’s right: He’s doing it. It’s His work and if it’s what He’s after in us, shouldn’t we let Him? Get the gold?
There is a catch, however: it will hurt like the dickens.
As it turns out, Job is inspired to hope for gold – not merely for literary expression or poetic metric, but because of its all-encompassing, over-arching, and far-reaching value.
God moved in my own heart years ago to make Job’s cry my own and I began to ask…to be gold…and He began to answer. Again, it’s not for the faint of heart because the process is sorely painful. To move raw gold to its purest form requires fire and pressure.
But I was desperate. I needed a change, stat.
And so I began making my prayer, “Lord, make my life gold…for Your glory.”
Whatever it was going to look like, I wasn’t sure, but assumed it would involve painful loss – either my parents or my own. I just knew a physical crisis loomed.
And I didn’t care.
It was the only time in my life I looked God, devil or fate in the face and emphatically said “Bring it on.”
I won’t risk redundancy here since I’ve posted this part of My Story elsewhere, so I’ll just get to the good stuff. You know, the gold.
So, I ask again: why gold? Aside from the obvious, I mean. Surely Job didn’t just have in mind being a medallion in God’s celestial trophy case…
Then I found these revelatory properties of gold that made me think, Ah, God, You’re so cool.
Dig on this:
- The word ‘gold’ comes from a Latin word aurum, meaning, shining dawn. This Latin term gives rise to its chemical symbol ‘Au‘.
Nugget: Jesus is the Morning Star, the Great Light of Day, the Bright and Shining Son of God. The fire, when applied to raw, unrefined gold, brings out the luster and visible beauty of Christ
- Gold is a good conductor of electricity and heat. As a conductor of electricity it is the chosen metal for mission-critical situations because of its ability to withstand corrosion
Nugget: the pure, burning heart of the Lord is readily carried in such a vessel and poured out to others
- Gold is malleable, which means it can easily be beaten into thin sheets or other shapes.
Nugget: for all is nobility and beauty, gold retains an ‘attitude’ of submission to be molded into whatever purpose its Owner has for it
- Gold is malleable enough for just 1 gram to be hammered into a sheet 1 square meter in size. It can also be made so thin that it appears transparent.
Nugget: the saint who submits to being constantly pressed and hammered will eventually display less of themselves and more of the Christ who dwells within
- Gold is not an abundant element. It is estimated gold atoms comprise only 0.3 parts per billion [ppb] of the Earth’s crust.
Nugget: those whose lives are marked by suffering and who joyfully embrace it and are transformed by it are rare, yes, but are accessible enough to remind us all of the glory we all look forward to
- Gold doesn’t oxidize or tarnish; it is an extremely stable or noble metal. Unlike silver or copper – which lose their luster because they interact with elements in the air – gold remains bright yellow.
Nugget: the fires of adversity bring forth the luster of Christ and infuse the saint with brightness and dignity, having burned away the dross of self and sin
- Gold is extremely dense, almost twice the density of lead!
Nugget: Paul wrote of our “light afflictions preparing for us an eternal weight of glory” using a play on words (as ‘glory’ means weight in its root), thus a weighty weight of His magnificence! I don’t pretend to know what it all means, but it sure makes my trials here seem much lighter!
- While gold is far more dense than lead, it is still soft (you’ve seen athletes pretend to bite their gold medals – indeed, if they were pure gold, their teeth would leave marks!)
Nugget: the suffering saint who submits with joyful surrender is never hardened by their affliction but carry with them instead a denser glory and softer and gentler spirit
- The obvious property: the jewelry industry buys up lion’s share of gold each year. And why? Because of gold’s beauty and display-ability
Nugget: Paul also writes of our earthly afflictions being radiated in our resurrection bodies into eternity, differing in glory – ranging from glories of suns, moons and stars; I believe the greater the sufferings endured here, the greater the glories displayed in eternity
- In ancient Rome, gold salves were used for the treatment of disfiguring skin lesions and ulcers, and today, gold leaf plays an important role in the treatment of chronic skin ulcers; today, gold netting is used in surgery to patch damaged blood vessels, nerves, bones, and membranes; microscopic gold is used for prostate, ovarian cancers and gold vapor attacks cancerous cells; it is also used as an anti-inflammatory and is effective in increasing circulation
Nugget: quite simply, healed people heal people. Job, the consummate broken man became a priest/healer in the end
Why ‘gold’? No, Job wasn’t just waxing poetic. Most assuredly, there’s quantifiable reasons for invoking gold as an outcome of his Great Trial.
Hopefully these qualities will open up a newer understanding into the broader and deeper work of God in our suffering…and will give renewed desire to say, Change me, God. Refine me. Make my life as gold.
Don’t forget about my ongoing ‘Comments Contest’ – whoever posts the most comments between now and October 31 will receive a free hardback copy of Jonathan Merritt’s “Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined” sent to you, postage-paid!