Have you ever watched a master smith take a formless piece of steel and craft into a tool or a deadly weapon?
It’s an incredible process my wife and I like to watch each week on the History Channel show, “Forged in Fire.” A skilled craftsman is given scrap pieces of steel and iron and given a matter of hours to shape it into a sharp, durable, deadly blade that can hold up to the most rigorous testing the show’s judges can throw at it.
If you’ve never watched the forging process, it really is a remarkable one.
Most types of steel require forge temperatures of at least 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, some even hotter, to make the steel malleable enough to craft. Once steel is red- or orange-hot and the impurities begin to smelt off, then the smith begins the arduous process of hammering, grinding, bending, and pressing the metal into the desired form, all the while reheating the metal anytime it becomes to cool to work with. It’s a process that can take a master smith hours or days to complete.
In other words, it takes significant time, heat and pressure, a constant shaping and refining, to turn steel into a productive, effective tool or weapon.
And yet, too often we believe we can live a productive life of faith from a position of comfort, without allowing God to forge us though the fire of trial.
However, Scripture is clear that if we truly desire to follow Jesus, and to be shaped into His image, it is going to require periods of intense, and often constant, trial.
Paul writes in Romans, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5, ESV)
Periods of significant trial, especially what so many are enduring right now, are not cause for despair or dismay, but should actually be encouraging, because it reminds us that God, the creator and craftsman of our hearts, is still working tirelessly to shape us and mold us. His work in us, though often, painful is done in love.
It should also serve to remind us of one splendid truth about His grace.
When the world has thrown us as useless junk on the scrap pile of life because it sees nothing in us, the Lord sees in us as priceless treasures worth pouring painstaking blood, sweat and tears into. He tirelessly refines, hammers, grinds, bends and shapes us in love, because He desires to use us, to draw us closer to Himself.
So, take courage today and find joy in the battle.
The Lord who created you and loves you is using it to craft you into something beautiful and effective for His sake!
Daniel Kiewel is a reporter with the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.