On The Anvil
by Max Lucado
With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on the anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece. He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be—sharper, flatter, wider, longer. With a clear picture in his mind, he begins to pound. His left hand still clutching the hot mass with the tongs, his right hand slams the two-pound sledge upon the moldable metal.
On the solid anvil, the smoldering iron is remolded.
The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
Whang! Whang! The hammer slams. The shop rings with the noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
And with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level. In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool. The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any mars or cracks.
There are none.
Now the smith enters the final stage of his task. He plunges the smoldering instrument into a nearby bucket of water. With a hiss and a rush of steam, the metal immediately begins to harden. The heat surrenders to the onslaught of cool water, and the pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending useful tool.
“For a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
(I Peter 1:6-7)
From On the Anvil:
Stories On Being Shaped Into God’s Image
This is a new edition of Max’s first book.
It contains an updated forward, written by him, as well as thoughtful questions for each chapter.
© (Tyndale House, 1985, 2008) Max Lucado