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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the anvil

I found this thought provoking. It's the introduction to Max Lucado's Book On the Anvil.

"In the shop of the blacksmith, there are three types of tools. There are tools on the junk pile:
They sit in the cobwebbed corner, useless to their master, oblivious to their calling.

There are tools on the anvil:
melted down,
molten hot,
They lie on the anvil, being shaped by their master, accepting their calling.

There are tools of usefulness:
They lie ready in the blacksmith's toolchest, available to their master, fulfilling their calling.

Some people lie useless:
lives broken,
talents wasting,
fires quenched,
dreams dashed.
They are tossed in with the scrap iron, in desperate need of repair, with no notion of purpose.

Others lie on the anvil:
hearts open,
hungry to change,
wounds healing,
vision clearing.
They welcome the painful pounding of the blacksmith's hammer, longing to be rebuilt, begging to be called.

Others lie in the Master's hands:
They respond to their Master's forearm, demanding nothing, surrendering all.

We are all somewhere in the blacksmith's shop. We are either on the scrap pile, on the anvil, in the Master's hands, or in the toolchest. (Some of us have been in all three.)"

As for me, I'm not totally sure where I am in that picture and process. If I sit on the fence (which is an honest place), I might say I have pieces of me in all those places. If I get off the fence (which is a more difficult place), I'm somewhere between the scrap pile and the anvil, but I think definitely making my way to the pounding, molding, and changing that happens on the anvil.

Every spot is difficult in its own right, but it's obvious by experience that some of those places are much more difficult than others. There is no doubt over the last few months I have felt very much on the scrap pile: good for nothing, good for nobody. That's a rotten place to be and those are awful things to feel, but it's honest and true when you are in that "present" state of mind. But over time, with much grace, and in Christ's unfailing love you begin to move and heal...getting a sense that God in His own mystical and mysterious way is up to something.

And that is where I am at right now. That messy and ambiguous place of gaining clarity, living in some confusion, but all the while still trusting God with the only thing that matters: faith. Faith that though He is not safe, He is good. He is just. He is love. But I am a work in progress (always have been, always will be) and so keeping following Jesus because He's the only thing that makes some sense out of and makes straight this funky, crooked path on which I am traveling.

So let me ask...where are you in the blacksmith's shop? I pray for you honesty and grace as you answer that question, live in that reality, and travel on your journey.

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