Have you ever watched a silversmith work? It’s mesmerizing. As a child, I attended a renaissance festival and was captivated by the craftsmanship. The silversmith started with a formless blob of silver. Into the fire it went. He punished it with hammer blows, and back into the fire it went. Back and forth. Heating and pounding until it took the form of something useful. Then came the smaller hammers. More heating and pounding. Not one person yelled, “Hey! I think the silver has had enough!” We watched the mastery of his skill shape the silver.
The Lord declares, “I will refine them like silver . . . and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zechariah 13:9). The Lord is an accomplished silversmith who shapes your life. Silversmith is from the old English word Silver-Smite, for he is an accomplished smiter. So is God.
Heating and pounding. Strife and stress. Loneliness and layoffs. Heating and pounding. Conflicts and clashes. Disease and death. Heating and pounding. All done to shape you, to form you.
Do you know when a silversmith finishes his work? When he can see his reflection in what he’s working on. The heating and pounding you’re enduring has a purpose. It’s so you see the love of Christ in you. Jesus knows heating and pounding. He went through the fires of hell after nails were pounded into his flesh. He knows what is needed for you to shine, to reflect his love to others, and to be made into something useful. And you are!