“The apartment is small.” My mother-in-law sighed and glanced around her. “So I’ll have to get rid of a lot.”
She was glad to be moving into a senior’s residence, but it meant parting with things she had treasured for a long time. She glanced at a large round metal tray on the wall of the dinning room.
“Would you like that tray?” she asked. Your Dad bought it in a Persian market in Mozambique.”
My husband nodded. “Sure Mom. It will look great in that niche in our living room.”
She got up right away, took it down and handed it to us. It’s made of hammered brass. You can see the tool marks where the artisan placed whatever he had used to make the design. As I touched the chiselled surface I could almost hear the ring of the metal as the hammer struck.
I thought about that tray as my favourite pastor preached about the Book of Ruth recently. The sermon resonated with a number of people in the congregation. One sentence stood out for me - “The hammered shape of truth in your life is meant to lead you to harvest, not defeat.”
He said it was significant that Ruth and Naomi arrived back in Bethlehem at harvest time. Their lives were about to change, again, and this time it was for the better. After all they had been through they were ready, now, to receive the harvest. There was a plan, a purpose in all they had suffered.
I thought of people we’ve known who have been through difficult things in their lives. Women whose husbands walked away; others who wished they would. Families torn apart by foolishness and others devastated by disease; some who have been victims of violence, others, victims of their own wrong choices.
Then I thought of those we’ve known who have triumphed in spite of it all – those who are enjoying a time of harvest. It seems they were able to recognize that the hard times were for a purpose. They recognized that no matter what they were experiencing, God loved them deeply and unconditionally. They held on to Him for dear life.
That was the “hammered shape of truth” in their lives. The result was a life shining with the beauty of gleaming brass, a life filled with purpose, a life ready for harvest.
There is no greater example of this than Jesus himself. Through all that He suffered He held on to his understanding of what it was His Father was doing. He knew His father loved him and loved those whom He would reach. And He knew there would be a time of harvest. So, “for the joy set before Him, he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Like Jesus, those who suffer yet hold on to God will “see the light of life and be satisfied.” (Isaiah 53:11). They will receive the harvest.