When Fire Makes Steel

I don't enjoy uncertainty. And I sure don't invite adversity. For one, they make my heart thump faster, my chest tighter, my breathing quicker and my stomach all churnish with just a single thought of them. Just too much stress. Gets me all depressed.

It's almost a year now since we have moved from the country where we had our first rented homes. Yet, we are still faced with the uncertainty of where our family's home really is and of what to do. Until now we are caught between Russia and the Philippines. One child goes to school in Russia, the other one in the Philippines, and the youngest is simply flying from one country to the other as she's still too young to go to school.

For certain, uncertainty is part of life.
It is present right before making changes. It is there right when we had to do the leap, and there during the journey of getting from one point to another. Too often we try to avoid making changes to avoid uncertainty. It gets us out of our comfort zones and discomfits us. When we have too much of the anxiety, our fears may overcome us and may render us paralyzed.

Yet, uncertainty plays a big role in unleashing creativity and is a catalyst for improvement. How? It is during uncertain periods that our energy is up and our senses are alert. We are open to taking risks, and taking risks opens doors which may have remained close if we are in our comfort zones. Creative juices flow out of us, making us get things done. Helen Keller wrote: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened; vision cleared; ambition inspired, and success achieved." Thus, when in the flames of fire, we can either sustain or succumb, forge or burn.

How does fire make steel in us?
1. Acknowledge the fire. Just as iron goes through fire to remove impurities and make steel, we need to recognize the edge uncertainty produces in us. Do not deny that you are out of your comfort zone, or you are in-between and uncertain; instead embrace where you are now and the emotions that go with being in that place. Afraid? Angry? Depressed? You may sit on them for awhile and rise up knowing that fortitude is best cultivated in the face of adversity, uncertainty and pain.

2. Get some air. In the process of steel making, oxygen is necessary. As you are being forged, remember to celebrate life. Get creative. Be enterprising. Build something, even just a set of LEGOs. Challenge yourself to learn something new. Write, enroll in an art class or visit an art show. Get some sun. Exercise, walk, run, breathe. Be silly. Laugh. Rest. Pray. Talk to God. Be present in the present. Enjoy today.

3. Trust the Steel Maker. As iron has no knowledge how it becomes steel, trust that God knows your uncertainty and He knows what He is doing in you and for you. He has been in the business of making steel for thousands of years and has more practice than any of us. Make Him a part of your refining process and place your certainty on Him. Job trusted God to make something out of His fiery place. He proclaimed, "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).

I wrote this seven years ago but it is just as relevant to me now as it was then. Whatever is your uncertainty: unemployment, health, new home/no home, financial status, etc., we have a guarantee.

I often ask what's in store for me
In this world of uncertainty.
You heard me, Lord, and reminded me
There is only one guarantee.

I have Jesus. I have Jesus.
For "whom have I in heaven but You, Lord?
Earth has nothing besides You. 
My flesh and (my) heart may fail, 
But God is the strength of my heart 
And my portion forever." 
(Psalm 73:25, 26)

So, when I can't see what lies ahead
And my heart's only filled with dread.
You shine Your light for me to see
That Jesus is enough for me.

I have Jesus. Only Jesus.

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