Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hot Iron

I saw a quote just now that arrested my thought process. It went something like this:

Do not wait to strike 'til the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.

The only person it's attributed to is "William B." so if you know who said this, help would be nice.

Now I can ALMOST see the attraction of this statement, encouraging the reader to jump quickly at opportunities, or to create for themselves an opportunity. I can ALMOST agree with this statement except for some very small (large) details. When I read this, it made red flags jump up all over the place in my head.

Before I go on, a little background to my life.

For about 5 years of my early teens, I worked (first volunteering) at a horse barn, where I learned all manner of things from caring for horses to riding them. There were many days when I would stand with a horse while the farrier took care of its feet and either replaced their shoes, or trimmed their hoofs. Now, a farrier is a horse shoer, a person who, for a living, travels from barn to barn, horse to horse, and takes care of the metal shoes on the horse's feet. They deal with metal for a living, making it hot, and then bending and striking it while it was hot. I never once saw a farrier try to strike the horse shoe while it was cold. In some way, he always warmed it up. Granted, there were times when he needed to tap one side of the shoe in, if it had gotten a little bent out, and it was a quick fix that didn't need the firebox, but that was all that ever happened. If a blacksmith of any kind were to try hammering metal before it was hot, he would possibly break his hammer, and crack and break the metal. You can't hammer metal before it's hot, and you can't hit metal hard enough and long enough to heat it up.

So, this statement just doesn't swing with me. Sorry.

There is one other problem I see is that this saying "Strike while the iron is hot" or "wait to strike while the iron is hot" depicts (for me) a person who is patient enough to heat the metal to just the right temperature where he then is able to shape it to his will. Yes, it took a little longer to heat the metal, but he got better results by waiting a little than just hammering away at cold metal.

As a Christian I am supposed to rely on God to provide for me and I am to be patient and willing to follow his lead. He is the blacksmith, and I am his pupil. I won't know when the iron or the metal is truly hot enough until he tells me. Yes, I can stick the iron in the firebox to heat it up, yes, I can watch it grow red, but as his pupil, I won't know when to pull it out and start beating on it until he says go. This phrase "make it hot by striking" shows me a pupil who has said, "no! I can do this on my own. I don't need your help. Your way takes WAY too long! I'll just hit it now! Friction makes things hot, right?"

If there's anything I've been learning recently it is that I need to be patient with everything. I need to be patient when I'm waiting on my kids to tune their instruments. I need to be patient when I'm waiting on something I've ordered to come in. I need to be patient when I'm eagerly awaiting my wedding day and it seems that it will never come. I have all these opportunities to rush ahead and speed the process up, but most of these opportunities, if taken, would end in heart ache and chaos with God having to step in and redo things. So, the long and short of it is this: I will wait on God's timing, and then when everything is as he would have it, I will take full advantage of all the opportunities he gives me to move for his glory, so when people say "wow, you know what you're doing!" I can say, "Thanks! But in reality, I have a really great God and Teacher."

No comments:

Post a Comment