I am constantly amazed by the skill and creativity of my friend Joe Brown. Joe is a blacksmith. He can take the most unusual materials and bend them to his will using heat, muscle, and imagination. Our pastor referred to Joe this morning in his sermon on “Christlikeness.” He referred to the way that God can forge us into being Christ followers.
The blacksmith’s hammer and anvil are powerful images of the way that God can work in our lives. Very often we only find out what we are made of only when we enter the heat of life with its challenges and temptations. Our lives are the raw materials out of which God forges us into Christlikeness. As rough and unyielding as we may be at times, the heat of life makes us more pliable. Even the most stubborn of us understands the need for change when we encounter the realities of life.
As I have watched Joe work with metal, I have noticed something significant. On occasion, the metal does not respond in the way that the blacksmith desires. When that happens, the artisan can take a step back, reheat the metal, and try again. If we apply this to our lives, God can take even our mistakes, allow us to learn from them, and then try again.
Forging a piece of metal into something useful is not an easy task. Taking our lives and molding them into something useful is not easy, either. We can be thankful that God is the master artisan who works with us in the process.