Most of you may know that I work in an Automotive Components manufacturer.
Among the several processes that we have in the plant, one of the most amazing is the heat treatment.
Steel components are sent through furnaces until they become red hot, and then they are suddenly quenched in water or oil. This modifies the micro-structure of the steel, making it much harder than before. And that is enough for the technical stuff (everybody has seen a blacksmith doing this to a horse shoe in a Western movie).
So, let’s move to my fantasy:
I was walking around the plant the other day, when I heard a voice: “how are you today?”
I looked around, but I couldn’t see anyone. Then I heard the voice again: “hey, it’s me, here inside this box”
To my surprise, it was one of the parts that came out of the heat treatment process that was talking to me. This round flange was black and full of scales on the surface, but seemed happy.
“I… I am doing fi-fine”, I said. “What about you?”
“Now I am OK. I feel very strong, but let me tell you… A few hours ago I was a shinning stamped flange, sitting comfortably in a box with my friends, when some guys came, took the box, and put us in that furnace… the one behind you. Man, it was hot in there. I didn’t think I could take it, I thought I was going to melt. There was nothing I could do to get out of there. I could not understand why they were doing that to me.
As I was at the limit of my desperation, I was thrown in this tank of oil, to cool me down, very fast. It was painful, but it felt good. And do you know what? I am much stronger now. I will be able to take whatever is ahead of me and not get worn out.”
Ok, ok. It is a silly story. I actually came up with it during a sermon in church a couple months ago, when the pastor was talking about those difficult moments in life, when you go through phases of suffering, that you don’t think you can handle. When the anguish is so deep, because you can’t understand why things are the way they are.
Not too long ago I was thinking how blessed my whole life has been. From my family as I was growing up, to my school days and professional career, to my marriage and kids. I was thinking that God has blessed me so much that probably He has a special plan for my future. Something else He expects from me.
As I was praying about all that, some doors that seemed to be open, suddenly closed. Other things started to compound around me, leading to an anguish I had not experienced before.
I felt like that flange going through the furnace. And it has been very difficult to see how these circumstances will be beneficial at all. How will God be glorified in this process?
I still don’t know the answer, so I have to trust that this will make me stronger, and better prepared for what He has for me. I know I am learning that I cannot control everything around me.
Ultimately, if I can praise God through this, it will be for His honor, even when it hurts.