Do you ever struggle with being content? Do you ever think, "I would only be happy if...?" God's word says that we are often taken through trials in life in order to refine us and sharpen us. I will never forget when I was first dating Kevin. There was a local area art festival in Columbus and he took me to see the wares and get a taste of what it was all about. As we walked from booth to booth, I was amazed at how talented people in the area are. I'm not very artistic myself, so I'm easily impressed with others' talents. I remember vividly walking to one particular booth that didn't have a lot of people visiting it. The first thing I remember drawing me to it was the sound. A steady clink.......clink.......clink.......clink. Yes, it was the sound that first got my attention. Next, as we neared the booth, I felt an annoying heat emerging from a source unidentified. It was the middle of summer, and if you live in Columbus, GA, you know that summers here are H-O-T to say the least! At first, the booth didn't interest me in one bit, both because of the sound and then of course...the heat. I started to pull away and go a different direction, but Kevin gently tugged my arm and led me closer to the exhibit. He had a look in his eyes that I now easily recognize.
My husband worships God through nature and the world around him. He can easily spot an illustration for a sermon (partly because he's always looking) in everyday things. He can see God in a deer beside the road, a gently rolling stream, a trip through the woods and the call of a bird. I remember once being completely amazed when he told me of a vivid dream he once had about his deceased father. In the dream his father was visiting him and taking him through a journey in a beautiful forest. When Kevin described the dream, he told me of the different colors of green in the trees. I honestly had never in my life taken the time to notice, much less care, that trees were varying shades of green. Since, I've looked and noticed he's right! My husband even wrote a poem about his experience with his father in the dream.
So, knowing how my husband can spot an illustration in nature and in life, I saw that look in his eyes that summer day at the art festival. Already an analogy about what he was seeing was forming in his brain. As he tugged me, I walked closer and we gathered around a man who had an apron fastened around his middle and sweat was pouring down his brow. From a raised fire pit, embers emitted heat and flames. He was a local blacksmith. In his hand he had a hot poker and on the edge of the poker was a horse shoe. He would extend the poker to the fire and the metal shoe would heat up to an orange/yellow color. The artist would then remove the shoe, place it on an iron mold and begin shaping it with a mallet right after it had been removed from the fire, when it was easily molded. Then, the steady clink.......clink.......clink.......clink sounded strong and clear.
As I stood watching, Kevin started gently whispering in my ear, "Shannon, this is like what God does to us. He puts us through the fire because, like this blacksmith, He is shaping us. Each time we are put in the fire we become more of the thing He wants us to be."
It is true. So, whatever trial we may be going through or whatever discontentment we may feel, we must know that God is shaping us, molding us into what He wants us to be. Hebrews 13:5 states, "...be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"
"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other..."