“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Through the Fire
24″ x 24″ Enamel on Polyglass
Lyn Deutsch 2011
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On The Anvil
With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on his anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece.
He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be – sharper, flatter, wider, longer – with a clear picture in his mind.
On the solid anvil, the smoldering iron is remolded. The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
The hammer slams.
The shop rings with noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort.
To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
And with time, a change occurs: what was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases the pounding and sets down the hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level.
In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool. The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any mars or cracks. There are none.
Now the blacksmith enters the final stage of his task. He plunges the smoldering instrument into a nearby bucket of water. With a hiss and a rush of stream, the metal immediately begins to harden.
The heat surrenders to the onslaught of cool water, and the pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending, usable tool.
On God’s anvil. Perhaps you have been there. Melted down. Formless. Undone. Placed on the anvil for…
Reshaping? (a few rough edges too many).
Discipline? (a good father disciplines).
Testing? (but why so hard?).
On the anvil.
Brought face to face with God out of the utter realization that we have nowhere else to go.
Jesus in the garden.
Peter with a tear-streaked face.
David and Bathsheba.
Elijah and the “still, small voice.”
Paul, blind in Damascus.
Pound, pound, pound… anvil time is not to be avoided, it’s to be experienced.
Although the tunnel is dark; it goes through the mountain.
Anvil time reminds us of who we are and who God is. We shouldn’t try to escape it. To escape it could be to escape God.
God sees our life from beginning to end. He may lead us through a storm at age thirty so we can endure a hurricane at age sixty.
An instrument is useful only if it’s in the right shape. A dull ax or a bent screwdriver needs attention, and so do we.
A good blacksmith keeps his tools in shape. So does God.
Should God place you on the anvil, be thankful. It means He thinks you’re still worth reshaping.
“For a little while you may have had to suffer grieff in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
[Source: Excerpted from Max Lucado, On The Anvil (1985). pp.41-46.]