Strengthened through Heat Treating
Through the ages hunting knives have served man in both utilitarian and artistic purpose. From the weapon chipped from stone through the advance of metallurgy there has always been an allure connected to owning a prized knife.
My husband has been a knife maker for almost fifty years. He first decided to try to make one because he could not afford a handmade knife that had captured his attention. The first was made from a saw blade; the second from a file. He quickly discovered the need for a different type of steel and began quizzing friends in the metal industry. After deciding on quality steel he set out to make another knife… then another… and in the process learned about the process of heat treating the steel and what that was needed to accomplish. This process of tempering began with heating the knife to very high heat to harden the steel. The problem is that at that point the steel is not useful at that point because it becomes brittle and easily broken. The process includes another step, drawing back, to bring the metal to a useful purpose. You have to harden before you can draw it back. The hardened steel lasts longer but it is not tough. As I understand it, the drawing back realigns the molecules and the result is a really dependable blade that will stand up to the most challenging use.
Isn’t that just like God in His strengthening us through challenges and suffering and rejoicing? All of these things through the hand of God serve to temper us to stand strong in what is yet to be. If we went through the fire without the tempering we would become brittle, grumbling, and quite ill fitted for the tasks ahead. God uses our challenges to bring us to a point where we are at the end of our ability to persevere; in His loving kindness He does not leave us there but comes alongside us to lift us up in His strength and thereby developing new strength in us as we become more aligned with His will. He grows us and makes us stronger as we depend more on His provision of all we need to walk with Him through every trial.
Through the tempering process the knife is given more intrinsic beauty and dependability. Through the refiner’s fire we are strengthened and given an inner beauty that is from turning our face toward God in expectation for what He will do based on His promises.