I love swords, and I love books and movies that utilize swords in battle. The invention of modern weaponry has taken the “edge” out of fighting. Swords are cool to watch wielded in movies like Braveheart and Lord of the Rings, but what I like is when books and actors begin to talk about how the sword was made, how the blade was sharpened, and how the metals all came together for perfection.
A forge is a metal-working hearth that uses extreme heat to melt and bend metals. As the metal is heated and beat with a hammer against an anvil, it becomes a work of artisanship and, eventually, a lethal weapon. This tradecraft was developed over centuries and handed down from fathers to their sons. Other sons were given swords and trained to wield them as warriors of valor.
Think about that sword for a minute. If you or I were put through such hardship to be developed into something to be wielded, it would be a painful process. Yet often I believe this is a wonderful picture of the Christian life and reminds me of Paul, in particular, and us believers after him, specifically. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV), Paul (led by the Holy Spirit) says, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The warriors of valor today are often seen as our military. Those men and women are definitely that and should be honored as so, yet I am thinking more of those devoted followers of Christ who are daily waging war on Satan’s territory. The men who are leading their families but may be struggling with family finances, job loss, or a wayward teen child. The women who are battling cancer, struggling to be encouraged at home with small children, or are single and life is difficult. We all wage war on sin daily and old habits of sin still find their way into our lives and Satan uses this to discourage us. Yet we can learn from those military warriors and Paul in this. The US Navy Seals have a creed by which they live. In the creed is a phrase, “Forged in Adversity.” They understand that for someone to become stronger, they must become weaker. Adversity is the weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, pain, and calamities that forge us and shape us into who Jesus Christ wants us to be.
Jesus is the Warrior of Valor who has already defeated Satan on our behalf, and as we are forged by adversity in this life to become more like Him, He wields us as a tool to advance His Kingdom. Through this painful process of living a life on this earth struggling with the effects of sin, we hear Jesus say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”
Someone who is close to me, whom I dearly love, is going through some deep pain right now. As I write this, I am reminded of this person and pray for them. Maybe this is you or someone you know and love. Pray for them as they are being Forged in Adversity.