The Blacksmith

This morning as I’ve been getting ready for church, I started reflecting on the past 14 months of my life. In my mind as I walked through the events that have happened, again and again I was reminded of moments of pain and difficulty, some of which were totally overwhelming at the time. I got to thinking about the passages in scripture that talk about “refining fire,” how, like silver, God uses the stuff of life to “heat” us, to take us through trying times, so that He can draw off the dross (the impurities, aka sin, etc.) to purify us.

Normally our thoughts about the difficult stuff of life stop there. We accept the refinement and think that all will be well then. But – what happens when a metalsmith heats up metal? Yeah, at first he does it to purify it. But once it’s been purified, what does he do with it? Does he just be like “oh, look at that beautiful chunk of iron!” or “look at that gorgeous block of silver!” ? No. He takes that still hot piece of metal and starts beating on it, pounding it, twisting it, shaping it, moulding it into the design he has for it. Just when the metal thinks “whew, I’m out of the fire now, things will get easier,” it comes face-to-face with the blunt edge of a large chunk of metal heading directly on a collision course towards it. Over and over again, the metal is beaten, shaped, and pounded.

Does it stop there? Nope. The metal begins to cool down, so it must once again be put into the fire. This time, it’s not to purify it though, it’s to make it maleable once again. The heat comes on, the metal goes in, and once it’s all warmed up, it comes back out and gets pounded on more.

The process repeats, over and over. Each time the piece of metal goes back into the fire, it is that much closer to becoming the shape that its craftsman has envisioned for it. As time goes by and the object takes its shape, the large blows with heavy hammers diminish, moving to smaller and smaller tools, until finally the piece is finished up with small instruments making tiny changes.

When the piece is finished, it has gone from a big chunk of impure metal into a very useful, beautiful object, whether that be a piece of wrought iron, a fine silver vase, a bronze spear point, or whatever. No matter what that end creation is, it has been formed and shaped according to the vision that its creator had for it.

So, when the stuff of life gets crazy, and you keep going through stuff that you thought was over with a long time ago, take heart. Your creator is still performing his moulding and sculpting and shaping on your life. And when He is done, your life will reflect the exact purpose and vision He has for you.