Suffering, a conundrum
Elevates the soul,
One’s body torn
Burned, filled with pain
Freedom to live
A glorious vision
What prize wrung
Through deep despair
Or torture there
As one through fire
Is molded, poured,
Carefully wrought for more?
Worked, shaped, beaten, processed
To be made pure
Are we like pig iron
That is puddled, rolled, forged
Made into something beautiful
Of use and purpose
Like iron carefully wrought?
Our suffering used
To bring us long last
Freedom to soar?
As my spirit learns to sing,
Lord, grant that I may quickly learn
The lessons of Your suffering
For all the sufferings of mankind
You have known and borne
And walk with me through mine.
Come now, please,
As I share in them, and
The sufferings of family and friends
This poem was written while I was recovering from an eye injection. The procedure, and especially my reaction to necessary iodine used in the eye to prevent infection, causes intense and slowly dissipating pain, with the good purpose of “wroughting” better vision from the onslaught of macular degeneration. The term “wrought” caught my curiosity and out came the poem.
Here are some interesting insights I found while thinking about this experience:
“Wrought iron:” (from Webster)
a tough, malleable form of iron suitable for forging or rolling rather than casting, obtained by puddling pig iron while molten. It is nearly pure but contains some slag in the form of filaments.
“Wrought:” (from Webster)
1: worked into shape by artistry or effort
carefully wrought essays
2: elaborately embellished :ORNAMENTED
3: processed for use :MANUFACTURED
4: beaten into shape by tools :HAMMERED —used of metals
5: deeply stirred :EXCITED —often used with up
gets easily wrought up over nothing
See also Wikipedia for interesting stuff about pig iron, so named for the channels it is poured into from the blast furnace that look like lined-up suckling piglets; and how it is further fired and purified to make steel.
These two translations of Proverbs 20: 27-30 also gave me pause:
Proverbs 20: 27-30 AMPC
“The spirit of man [that factor in human personality which proceeds immediately from God] is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts. [I Cor. 2:11.]
Loving-kindness and mercy, truth and faithfulness, preserve the king, and his throne is upheld by [the people's] loyalty.
The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is their gray head [suggesting wisdom and experience].
Blows that wound cleanse away evil, and strokes [for correction] reach to the innermost parts.”
Proverbs 20: 27-30 NIV
27 The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being
28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;
through love his throne is made secure.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old.
30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
and beatings purge the inmost being.
The analogy of humans and pig iron is interesting. We are not objects, like cast iron poured and set into a solid inflexible shape, with purpose, but without bend-ability; or perhaps choice? Instead, with our impurities and brittleness, we are carefully forged and shaped into an artistic result of strength, beauty and purpose. I like that! Rather than a picture of human abuses, Proverbs 20:30 suggests to me the ongoing forging of our souls and spirits as we submit to God’s love in driving out the evil that would consume us. The pain inflicted is like being set free from a hard imprisoning walnut shell, or a softer kind of shell if we are not “a tough nut to crack!” In God’s hands we are always carefully held as He perfects us in His love (even when it hurts)! His purpose is never to harm or destroy us, but to set us free, make us fully like His perfect Son, Christ Jesus, whole and complete.