In last week’s post, we began discovering the forging process of metal on how that relates to the trials we go through. Once the blacksmith has heated the metal enough so that it is malleable, he hammers on it to create the shape he is looking for. This is not a split-second process. He heats, hammers, and shapes. Heats, hammers, and shapes. Over time, the metal begins to reflect the shape that the blacksmith desires. We pick up the process here where the metal is now quenched to make it stronger.
After all the heating and pressure to shape the metal, the blacksmith finally plunges the hot metal into cold water, a process called quenching. The shock of the cold water on the molten-hot steel makes it strong and sets its shape. Here’s a little more about how it works:
“Plunging hot metal into water after it has been forged to shape [is called quenching]. It is important to judge exactly the right time to do this. If it is done too soon the metal may become brittle and shatter easily; but leave it too long to quench and the metal may be too soft to sharpen into an edge. Sometimes, it is necessary to re-heat metal to the correct temperature before quenching it.”
Through trials, God is tempering us to withstand future challenges and tribulations, so that we are strong enough to overcome the trials of this life and hold fast to our crowns (Revelation 2-3). Just like the paragraph above indicates, He understands how to work with each of us, when we’re “at the right temperature” rather than when we might have gone too soft or too brittle, or in need of some extra work. And just like that bucket of cold water, it occasionally takes a shock to the system to achieve His purpose.
James wrote to the brethren that they should “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3). The word translated “patience” here means endurance or constancy. Steadfastness. In other words, staying the course and holding up under adversity. Let’s go back to the blacksmith analogy. The smith is trying to make an instrument out of steel. Whether it’s a sword, a nail, or (on a big scale) the frame to hold up a skyscraper, the final product has to be almost indestructibly strong.
I go back to the question posed at the beginning: What is God’s intention for allowing His people to suffer trials and tribulations? Peter sums up the purpose of the blacksmith’s fire, hammering, and quenching by telling us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:6-7).
God is working with each of us, using fire and pressure to remove imperfections and shape us into His image (Colossians 3:10). We can fight this process, requiring Him to continually apply more heat and pressure to get the desired result. We can become brittle and break. We can refuse to hold the shape He creates. Or we can submit to the heat that is applied in our lives and become the work He desires us to be. That part of the process is ultimately up to us.
Think and Pray
In what ways are you fighting God in the forging process? What is holding you back from allowing Him to shape and mold you into a strong instrument?
Father, thank you for trials. Thank you for loving me enough to want to make me stronger. Give me joy even in hardship so that my faith may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Amen.
This post is an excerpt from the article “Becoming Strong, Useful Instruments in the Hands of a Master Blacksmith.” It was originally posted on bestirrednotshaken.com