Milk and Honey Magazine explains how Jesus, even through a cup of coffee, can refine us like fire through sanctification of His love, peace, and joy.

Refined By Fire

Angela D'Alie

“Good morning sweet boy," I said as I smiled at my son. It was a typical morning, waking up to fresh air and thinking about what God would have for me. I was preparing for my day as usual. I had been loving the mornings; sweet time with the Lord and running early so I could set the pace for the rest of the day.

This particular morning, I had just gotten out of bed and headed over to make an espresso. Espresso is another form of coffee, Italian style. My sister Jenna had gifted me a Nespresso machine that made this easy. It’s very simple; you pop in the coffee pod, and a few seconds later out comes your fresh coffee.

I went to use it and realized I had run out of little pods, so I had to use the handheld stainless steel espresso maker in which you put it on the stove; this process takes longer to make the coffee. This was no problem, however, as I had time and couldn’t wait to enjoy a fresh cup before my run.

I went upstairs, grabbed the espresso maker and started brewing the coffee. I was getting ready when I noticed the coffee wasn’t properly brewing. I went over to the stove, opened the lid, and at the perfect time I heard a burst. Within seconds, I was covered in hot coffee. The machine had been missing a critical part and exploded at the same time I happened to look in it. I was covered in burning coffee grounds. My face had coffee saturated all over it – in my eyes, nose, on my face, all over my shirt and chest.

My initial reaction was to grab a towel, put some water on it and wipe it off! I started to do this, and a few minutes later I had realized what happened – I had been in a cooking accident, badly burned by coffee. I didn’t react quite yet. I calmly went upstairs and showed my sister. At this point, I still had coffee all over my shirt, so I quickly went into the shower to rinse it off. This is the moment I realized something was really wrong – my face was burning as the cool water splashed on it. It was sizzling, it hurt, and I was still in shock by what happened.

For the next few hours I kept calm, put a cool towel on it and waited to see if I should go to the doctor. As the day progressed, the burns on my face got worse and worse. Pretty soon, I came to the conclusion I was medically burned on my face, and my day completely stopped. All I could think about was "God, how did this happen, why would I look in it, will I be burned on my face forever? Why would You allow this?" So many questions raced through my mind. Soon I began to weep – for the pain, the unknown and the plans that were no longer going to happen.

As the day went on, I was able to connect with a friend who’s husband is a doctor, and he advised me on how to care for my new wound. I was still in a state of shock. The day started out as normal, and within a few seconds my life had changed. I no longer could go outside, I needed rest to heal the wound and running was out of the question. The more I thought about it, the more I cried. That’s when I got alone with the Lord. I wept, cried, and asked Him, "God, what are you teaching me through this?"

At this moment, I didn’t hear an answer, just the comfort of knowing I could go to Him, He heard me, He was with me and He would walk hand-in-hand with me through this trial. I retreated to myself for the rest of the day, wondering if my face would ever be the same. I was sad yet thankful that it was just my chin area and not my entire face. I went from being excited to take on the day to depressed in my bed wishing the day was a bad dream.

A day went by, and my burn became more noticeable. I hadn’t told many people about it and was advised to stay out of the sun to get rest. That would be easy if I didn’t live on a small lake where many people visited throughout the week. Staying inside was hard. The laughter of the kids swimming, my young son begging me to go outside to play with his cousins and my desire to go enjoy the warm weather.

This was the moment when God started to teach me. As people came over and looked at my wound, I had two distinct reactions. One where their eyes would grow and a tiny scream of, “I am so sorry that happened to you.” (with a terrified look on their face); and the other where they reassured me "it is not that bad and it would heal." The latter made me feel better and more confident. Yet the former is typically how I respond in situations, and that is when the teaching began.

How do I respond? How can I respond to draw people to Christ? Storms will happen, and how we respond matters to God. That night, I decided I would not throw myself a pity-party. Even if my face would never heal, I needed to be thankful. Thankful for what God was teaching me and thankful for everything He has gifted me.

This was not just a lesson on how I was responding but a lesson on gratitude – to be thankful for everything He has given to us and to not take it for granted. You see, God is good. He is loving, and He cares for my soul. That’s when I looked at my night stand and saw the book, Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh Demoss. I picked up the book and committed to being thankful through the storm. I had two choices – to be sad, or to choose to let the Lord teach me how to be thankful. I chose the latter.

I went to God and prayed He would prepare my heart to receive His teaching, to be a student, and to be transformed by Him. He is the best Teacher and He wants us to be teachable students. This week, I was humbled by a God who loves me so much that He takes the time to transform my heart. I don’t know if my face will fully heal, but I do know my heart is different. My face was refined by fire, but my heart was refined by Christ. And that is the best gift anyone could ask for.

So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 1:7

Angela (pictured above) loves the Lord, mothers two boys, and leads a women’s ministry called “The Well.” Her face, weeks after the incident and writing this, is cleared up, and her faith is stronger than ever.