Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hammer Time

My friend loves to go to the beach at sunrise. These days it’s a bit too cold, so I thought I’d share a summer sunrise with you.

This interesting cloud is called an anvil cloud. It’s in the shape of a blacksmith’s anvil. She told me when she took the picture; there was actually lightning flickering within the cloud. It must’ve been quite a sight.

I remembered when I was little and a storm was going on, my parents would say God was bowling. The lightning would still startle me and the anticipation would build as I waited for the thunder clap.
When I saw the anvil cloud I got to thinking and started to read about blacksmiths.

A blacksmith uses fire and hammers to make the cold steel or iron to conform into tools or decorative pieces. He works in a dim shop so he can see the color the metal is changing in the furnace. Forging heat for metal is an orange-yellow. If it got too hot and turned white or yellow, some metals would lose their strength and they could crack or break. So the blacksmith is constantly monitoring the furnace.

Once it’s the right color, the item is pulled from the coals and placed on the anvil to be forged. Large pieces require the help of a striker: an apprentice that wields a large sledgehammer.

Depending on what he is creating, he could be hammering, drawing it out to lengthen or forming it over the anvil. All this time he checks the color, placing it back in the coals and keeping it hot.

There is a term called “upsetting”, this is where the blacksmith will make the metal thicker on one end by shortening the other. There is also punching for either decoration or a hole is needed to attach something. He can also weld two pieces together.

Finally the finishing comes where he will break off scale with a wire brush, file to remove burs and edges. Then he heats it one more time to a desired hardness so the item will hold up to use. He gives it a final polish using a grinding stone.

Sometimes the hard times can be the enemy trying to trip us up. But you know what; I think sometimes people give the devil too much credit.   

What if that difficult time you are going through is actually time on God’s anvil? What if he is turning up the heat in a situation to make you stronger for the next? And some of the stuff that’s being taken away, what if God is removing the burs and scales of your life to reveal the beauty underneath?

…a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. Isaiah 42:3

Know this; He knows exactly how much you can handle. It may be dark now, but God is in His shop. He is turning up the heat and He has you in His hands. Though the sparks fly and the hammer falls, know He is doing something new in your life and you will come out of this even stronger than you were before.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4