As a schoolgirl, I had the opportunity of touring a steel treating plant near Detriot, MI. A tour guide was assigned to our class group and we followed her around the plant, over cat-walks, through tunnels and in and out of observation decks. I was fascinated by it all.
At one point she stopped to allow us to view the purging process. We were standing in an observation deck. Below us was darkness. Oppressive heat and the smell of fire rose toward us. Huge rectangular containers held the molten steel within the furnaces. As our eyes grew accustomed to the dimness, men in bulky, protective suits and welding helmets pulled the switches controlling furnace doors. A warning sounded that was impossible to ignore.
Once the doors were open, you could see black “spots” on the surface of the white hot metal. Using long handled ladles, they scraped off the black sludge as it rose to the surface. Sparks flew in the darkness like sparklers on the 4th of July when the black sludge was poured into nearby containers. Our guide explained that this purging process was repeated – until the steel was pure.
As she led the class on to the next station, some of the boys began scuffling and fooling around. A little notepad belonging to one of them flew over the rail and down into the open furnace. I watched as it fell. To my amazement, there wasn’t even a flash of fire. One second, it was falling – the next second, it simply wasn’t there – it had been utterly consumed, unforgettable impression.
You see, God’s design and desire for His people has always been holiness. Anything less must (sooner or later) be judged and eradicated; consumed in the presence of a Holy God.
Written by Mary Walker