As the goldsmith works his craft, heat is applied to burn the dross and remove impurities to produce a pure shiny precious metal. Without this process we would not have the beauty and functionality of the chemical element “Au” more commonly known in its purest form of 24 carats as Gold.
The application of adverse effects is not a unique phenomenon of gold. It is a principle of natural law. We see it all around us in the transformation of coal to diamonds, caterpillars to butterflies, mass to muscle, and free agency to impeccable character. Overcoming adversity builds strength in all forms of life.
The “Refiner’s Fire” is typically thought of as a spiritual principle through its multiple references in the Holy Bible. As a true principle of natural law it is always true in all aspects of life including our spiritual, physical, social, emotional, and intellectual beings.
Attempted circumvention of any nature law always causes complex repercussions of an otherwise simple principle. When man attempts to out-smart nature and the perfect forces that govern our world, he soon discovers how little he really knows and how insignificant he is in the eternal spectrum of things. Man can no more defy the laws of gravity than he can reverse the results from the law of the harvest. We reap what we sow, nothing more and nothing less, in the long run.
History is one of our best teachers of this principle. A review of the manipulation of a natural law reveals disastrous results among the Native American Indians who have been handed everything from the American government for past injustices. But the real injustice has proven to be the missing challenge for this culture to work hard and benefit from the fruits of their labors. Ironically, the ancient American Indian tribes have in centuries past been known for their hard work and thriftiness on the wild plains of the American continent. The “charitable” hand of dependence has robbed this once proud people of their dignity, self-respect and moral fiber.
On a positive note, the “Greatest Generation” also known as the G.I. Generation, includes the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 to 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression. This generation is rightfully remembered as the Greatest Generation due to the personal experiences that have tempered the steel of their character. This generation was trustworthy and dependable. Their word was their bond and their respect for women, children and people in general was unfathomable by many in today’s society.
Not all handle adversity successfully. Life will never give us challenges that we do not have the inner strength to conquer. Unfortunately, some will not reach down and call forth that strength at times of adversity. Is it fair to allow some to fail? Is failure bad? Has not failure or the fear of failure proven to be a most powerful motivator? Wise men have said, Failure is not when we are knocked down, but when we do not get back up. No one succeeds 100% of the time. We learn the most from our failures, not that we should seek them, but they will happen naturally and will be for our own good. Over time we learn to be more thoughtful and wise in our choices. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 1000 times. I have successfully discovered 1000 ways to not make a light bulb.”
These questions regarding failure have caused much debate and divided political positions. Some propose that it is cruel and inhumane to allow people to fail. They want to provide safety nets to guarantee a utopian condition where no one is hurt or feels pain. In doing so, how many people have been robbed of the opportunity to succeed if only challenged to do so. We are a creative resourceful people. Most people will find a solution if forced to. It will be painful, but it will be for our own good.
Raising children is an excellent example of this principle. When they are young, we provide barriers and guides to protect them. But we must train them and then remove the proverbial training wheels for them to flourish and realize their full potential. The biggest disservice we can do to our children is to not let them feel the consequences of their actions when they are young. They will naturally choose the easy way out, but we as good parents know that they will only grow to be responsible citizens if they learn life’s lessons of obedience to natural laws.
Life is a dichotomy of responsibility and charity. Varying political views lean one way or the other. The “perfect government” provides the freedoms to develop self-reliance within a moral framework of service to our neighbors. In a free society, the truly needy would be a very small percentage and would not be a major burden on society. Care for the young, old, infirm and disabled is best provided locally, first by the family, then the church and community. Temporary relief should be provided to the able-bodied unfortunate, but it must be painful, yet dignified, so as not to become too comfortable.
There is hope for our great nation. America is waking up to the results of politician’s attempts to manipulate natural law. The natural results are catching up to us. We can become a great nation again if we recognize the Refiner’s Fire as the gift that it is. We must allow people the opportunity to grow from their painful experiences. But they must first be weaned from their dependence on government subsistence. Then the American people can be restored to their dignity, self-respect and moral fiber.