Long ago, at a time when wars were fought with swords, in a warring country, lived a young, valiant man who yearned to fight at the front lines of the raging battle. He was courageous and often asked his father for a sword so he could fight in the war. The father, a wise and noble man, denied him the privilege each time the young man asked. The want-to-be warrior became increasingly impatient. One day, in despair and frustration, he took his moneybag and set out for the blacksmith to buy his own sword.
When he arrived at the blacksmith, he saw two men hitting a red-hot rod alternately with precise blows, filling the air with loud clanking. The men looked tired and dirty, but kept diligent eyes on their work. Tools of every kind hung from hooks, lay in corners, and filled dirty shelves. A tall, burly man stood in the back by a stone fire pit next to a pile of wood and a giant bellow. He was tending a hot fire.
The tall man saw the young one, wiped his sweaty brow and walked toward him. “What can I do for you?”
“I need a sword for the war,” said the young man with a fire in his voice, matching the heat of the embers in the pit. “I will kill our enemies until they are completely destroyed!” he said and gave the man his moneybag.
The fire stoker, who was the head blacksmith, sensed the determination in the young man’s voice.
“Come on in!”
The young man was excited. It wouldn’t be long and he would be able to join the war.
The blacksmith looked at the coins in the bag and replied,
“I am sorry, but this is not nearly enough,” and seeing the determination in the young man’s face, he continued,
“Would you like to work for me? We are short-handed in here. Soldiers need new swords for their warfare. Many need their weapons sharpened. Men are dying for lack of good swords.”
The young man felt disappointment rise up in his fearless heart. But, since he was also a charitable man, and in need of a sword, he asked,
“What I can do for you?”
The blacksmith’s face grew a warm smile behind his long, gray beard.
“I will show you. Come!”
The young man followed the blacksmith to the fire pit.
“Tend this fire! Do not let it go out, young friend,” the blacksmith said, grateful for the help.
All day the young man kept the fire burning. When he ran out of wood, he carried in more. When all the cut logs were gone, he chopped more wood. At the end of the day he was exhausted.
“Come back tomorrow,” the blacksmith said. The young man agreed, for he was eager and loyal. He returned to the shop day after day.
As time went on, the young man grew fond of the men in the shop and became devoted to the hardworking blacksmith. He hauled iron and wood, kept the fire going, and tended to the various jobs. Day after day he grew stronger and more vigorous in his work. Soon, he knew how hot the fire had to be in order for the metal to be rightly heated. He knew what tools to use, when to strike the glowing iron, how to forge new swords and most of all, how to make swords sharper than any other swords around. Even though in the depth of his heart he longed to be on the battlefront, over time, he became a devoted and capable blacksmith.
One day, while airing the fire with the bellow, he noticed a soldier by the door. He looked tired and worn. His uniform was bloody and his hands dirty. The soldier walked in, drew his sword from his sheath and laid it on the anvil.
“Did you forge this sword?” he asked the young man.
The young man knew the sword well for he had held it in his hands for many days while forging its metal when it was hot. He remembered how he had worked for hours to craft it into the sharpest sword anyone had ever seen. He nodded his head.
The soldier looked into the eyes of the young man and said with kindness,
“My valiant fellow soldier, the war was won last night. The country is free. Though many are injured and slain, the enemy could not withstand the power of this weapon. This very sword killed the king of our enemy. I wanted to thank you and return it to you as a sign of my gratitude.”
The young man picked up the sword from the anvil on which he had forged and sharpened it and looked at it with pride.
That night he walked home with a grateful heart, knowing that his sword had slain the enemy in the battle he was not allowed to see.
The Word is forged and proven true
In hearts of those who follow Christ,
Becomes a weapon piercing through
The darkest evil – slaying lies.
There on the anvil of the soul,
The Truth is driven deep below.
The Father, in the blacksmith’s role,
Crafts swords with every painful blow.
He asks His warring child to wield
His Word, the doubled-edged Sword –
Not fear the prayer-battlefields –
For every battle is the LORD’s.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“Lord, let me stand strong in the battle of prayer. Draw me to your Word of Truth, the only weapon that will defeat the enemy of our souls.” (Story, poem and bottom picuture, Heidi Viars, Scriptures taken from the ESV)