Pastor in the Pasture: Being put on the anvil
I’m sure not a farrier and definitely not a blacksmith. I respect those of you who are. The farrier is a combination of where science and anatomy meet art. After spending 3/4 of the morning under one horse…(yes that’s right the number 1, as in uno, as in solamente) I find even more respect for the farrier. Here I spend all this time on one horse and they could have 4 to 6 head or more done.
I can get through the removal of the shoes pretty easy and that’s straight forward. Then, it just gets more and more difficult because that’s where the science and anatomy kick in. I trim and rasp, set the foot down, and inspect…doesn’t look right…rasp some more…better but still not a professional looking job. It’ll have to do because I’ve got one more head to do this afternoon. (I can hear all of you farriers out there laughing at me…one head?…as you’re shaking your head.)
Then there are those that go the extra mile and forge their shoe, and from the art comes the function. Those that are blacksmiths and have forged countless pieces, the result is attention to detail and a true art form. I can see how pride is found in the satisfaction of stepping back to gaze upon the finished product. There’s no telling how many times the blacksmith has made the trip from forge fire to the anvil. Countless hammer strikes and then back to the forge and into the fire again.
We all can relate to that piece of metal. You and I have been plunged into the fire and laid on the anvil to be shaped. Sometimes it feels like we’ll never be a finished project because of the constant shaping in the trials we go through. Sadly our culture has now associated going through trials as victim hood instead of an opportunity to grow our character. As one feller I know says, “building your resumé.”
Jesus told His disciples (them as well as you and me) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) In the midst of troubles do you have peace in Him?
James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2-4, 12 NIV)
Being in the middle of a trial sure can feel like we’re holding on at the end of the rope. Sometimes we want to give up and turn it loose. My encouragement is to ask: “What would happen if you didn’t give up?” “In what ways could you grow in your relationship with Christ if you allow Him to shape you into His purposes?”
I hope and pray that as you are forged in the fire that you will persevere and let Him shape you into the person He needs you to be. I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!