I’ve gone through a bit of it this past month, and God has been speaking to me about the purpose of trials.
In one instance a few weeks back, I was the kettle, someone else was the pot, and I was being called black. Boy did I get angry! It just wasn’t fair! Besides, I was only mildly grey in comparison. It didn’t seem right, and everything within me got riled up against the injustice of being accused of something far beyond what I actually did… by someone who was regularly far worse than I was. (At least in my mind.)
But as I submitted my anger to God and humbled myself before Him, He began speaking to me.
Does not the Bible say that I must return evil with good? True, Jesus did say to remove the log in your own eye before you try to take the splinter out of someone else’s… but He didn’t say the one with splinter can get mad at the one with the log and refuse to do anything about the splinter that was still there.
He reminded me of those truths, but still I resented the level of criticism that I had been subjected to. I could not understand how it could be a good thing for me to receive such harsh criticism over something so very, very small.
And then He reminded me of a line out of that fantasy book I mentioned.
A blade is only strong because of the fire it passes through, isn’t it?
That line shot through my spirit, and with it, more details.
When a swordsmith forms a blade, he subjects it to high heat, and he pounds that edge to make it fine and thin and sharp. And the sharper he wants that edge to be, the more heat and pressure is required.
I saw, in my spirit, a blade that was relatively sharp. A close look, however, revealed tiny, tiny rough spots here and there. I am sure that a swordsmith with such a sword would then get very, very critical with his heat and his blows, focusing on each small imperfection, one at a time, until each one was worked out.
And so it is with the Master Craftsman who will complete what he began in me. The faulty humans around me are His tools. We are like sandpaper – rough against each with our faults and failings. He uses uses those around me however He desires to fashion me into the vessel… the sword… the woman that He wants me to be.
I can look around at the other swords who aren’t being subjected to the same fire and blows that I am, and I have a choice:
Will I complain because of the detailed and critical work being done on me?
Or will I embrace the fact that it is my turn to be made more perfect and beautiful and powerful? Will I submit willingly to the fire and the pounding with a yielded spirit made softer by humility?
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:3-5