Wikepedia defines tempering as:
Tempering is a heat technique. In steels, tempering is done to “toughen” the metal. Tempering is accomplished by a controlled reheating of the work piece to a temperature below its lower critical temperature. The brittle martensite becomes tough and ductile after it is tempered. The martensite becomes strong after being tempered and increases the elastic limit and reduces the brittleness. After the carbon diffuses, the result is nearly pure ferrite with a centred structure. There is always a trade-off between strength and ductility. This delicate balance highlights many of the subtleties inherent to the tempering process. Precise control of time and temperature during the tempering process are critical to achieve a metal with well balanced mechanical properties.
The Bible mentions it:
Romans 5:3 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, 4 and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. 5 In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Now I will put my two cents worth in the mix:
God makes us this same way. By tempering us. But in our case, he uses our heart and spirit. It is a tedious process designed to be done with patience, skill, and precise control.
Anyone else out there getting a huge revelation here?
Your heart is the steel in this instance that needs to be tempered.
Your life is your process.
Your trials are making you stronger. Stronger than you could ever be without them. Some of us have been dipped in the hot coals more than we care to admit, some of us grow impatient in the slow heat process. But let’s face it, when we wait on the process to complete look at how strong and amazing we come out! So strong that the things that would have broken us in two before, only bent us and barely even left a scratch on your surface. God’s mission in your life is to build tempered steel. The ups, downs, and in-betweens matter. It all matters. The end result cannot be rushed, it is a complex and tedious project, and every piece that is patiently created serves a purpose. We were forged – and maybe even still being forged – for Gods purpose. Let us not forget that even after the steel is tempered, there is still yet another process. The molding. That’s right. Even after all that you have been through..There is more!
So think about this for a moment. Are you in the hot coals? Are you on your second dip? Maybe you are in the cooling down process. Where ever you are, God is with you. Once you are perfectly tempered – (as tough, and unbreakable as you can be) the molding begins. I can tell you that I am stuck in the lathe at this point. Everyday I am molded and shaped anew. My process is far from completed – but I am……Well……. Lets just say……. Closer.
Cheers to the process!