Reflection for July 2024

Forged on the anvil of Adversity

Have you ever watched a blacksmith at work in their forge and heard the roar of the furnace, the white-hot metal taken out and hammered into shape on the anvil? It’s amazing how an ordinary bar of iron ends up as something beautiful and useful, for example, a horseshoe. Or perhaps you’ve seen a bell foundry. The large pot of molten metal is poured into the mould and several days later when it has cooled, and the sand has been removed, a large bell appears. But that’s not the finished article because all the rough edges have to be removed with a grinder. It then takes time to tune it so it sings out. Then it is placed high up in a bell tower where no one really sees it, yet each week it rings out God’s praises.

I say this as I’m thinking of a dear departed friend; a lady in her 90’s who was always welcoming people at church and blessing people each week. Yet, at her funeral, we sat amazed to hear her daughter relate her hard life, right from childhood. Some would have ended up bitter and railing against the world that had treated them so badly. But the love of Christ shone through this lady, and so I ponder on the Christian life. I discovered an old hymn with wonderful words, a bit archaic, but I modernised them and gave it a new up-beat tune. As I was interested in the author of the song I ‘Googled’ her and found out that Edith Gilling Cherry was a girl who had polio from a very young age, and suffered other health problems, yet was able to write beautiful poetry and hymns before being called home at the age of 25!

Good news sounds like an easy life! It seems that all your troubles are behind you and every day is going to be great. But the reality is we all face the hardships of life and it’s how we overcome them that counts, especially if we allow Jesus to walk with us and guide us. I hope you will reflect on this and allow more space in your day, to allow Jesus to draw close to help and guide you. There is so much bitterness and anxiety in the world today that we all need to find the Shalom that Jesus brings.

So, as it says in Hebrews 12:1 1b-2, ‘…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’