"THE FINGER OF GOD" - Chapter 4

"THE FINGER OF GOD"

By: Dan Revoir

CHAPTER 6

MY TURN ON THE ANVIL

The forge looked like a glowing campfire that was dying out; all that remained were a few smoldering embers. Then Gary, JD’s brother-in-law poured a scuttle full of coal on it and flipped the switch for the electric bellows. It roared to life, and within moments became an inferno. The warmth spread throughout the workshop, even on this cold winter’s night.

It was winter in Maine and JD and I decided to drive from Michigan to be there for his father’s surgery. We allotted ourselves adequate time to drive 16 hours to be on time or maybe a day early. But a terrible blizzard that was crossing Canada was racing us to Maine and we ended up in a dead heat. And since you already have an idea of my “luck,” the same storm went out into the Atlantic. Yes, you guessed it; full of rage and furry it came back to Maine, about a week later to accompany us on the trip back home! Needless to say the driving was treacherous and cars were strung all over the highways like matchbox cars thrown into a toy box.

The surgery went very well and JD’s dad was home before we had to leave.

Gary and Becka (JD’s brother-in-law and sister) had invited us for supper (it was the Maine meal) and after an excellent repast, Gary said, “Do you guys want to forge a knife?”

“That would be great!” I blurted.

“I would like to see your shop; let’s do it,” was JD’s response.

Gary is a blacksmith and so is his wife. She is as good as he is when it comes to a hammer! But she is not quite as strong! He is built like the blacksmith that you picture in your mind.

Gary deftly drew the shape of a knife on a heavy steel table with a piece of soapstone. Then he stated, “How does a skinning knife sound?”

Yeah! Yeah! We both resounded.

A short time later he had fashioned a knife to the exact pattern that had been inscribed on the metal table. The blows of his hammer were exact and forceful and his years of experience were displayed in a matter of moments.

JD responded and the grinding process began with showers of sparks.

“Do you want me to make you a knife?”

“No! I want to make my own,” I replied.

The fire had all but disappeared when Gary worked his magic and made a monster out of the glowing embers. After he had stoked the fire, he cut off an eight-inch long piece of metal that looked like a huge Allen wrench (hexagon or octagon shaped). As I took the tongs, an incredible feeling came over me. I was completely confident - even though I did not have the slightest idea of what I was doing!

The metal quickly became a cherry red and Gary handed me the hammer. “Start hammering.”

I took the glowing piece of metal over to the huge anvil. I hit the metal over and over again and sparks flew at each striking of the heavy hammer!

“It is starting to cool, reheat it again!”

Again I heated it and started to hammer again. And then to my amazement the piece of metal had given up its will and was becoming what my will wanted it to be.

I checked it with the pattern on the table. “You are doing great! After the next heating, start putting the curve on the tang.” (Blade handle) Reheat! More hammering! Reheat again! I could hardly believe it! The knife was a perfect replica of the image on the table.

“Take your time now and taper the knife to a cutting edge.”

Obedient to the master blacksmith, I reheated and started forming the knife so that the back was thick and strong and it had just the right taper to the blade.

“I can’t believe it,” the smithy proclaimed!

“I don’t want to grind my knife to an edge.” I said to myself. “I will hammer it until all I have to do is sharpen it on an oil stone!”

And that is exactly what I did. The edge was already sharp when I put the hammer down!

“You have done this before!”

“No never!”

“The knife is perfect.”

“I feel like I have done this before, like I knew exactly what to do.”

“You mean you have never picked up a hammer before?”

“No, first time.”

“I think this knife will stay in Maine.”

“I think it is going to Michigan,” I answered with an uneasy smile!

“Would you like to have your initials in it?”

“Would you do that?”

“Sure, let’s reheat it again.” This time I let the master finish this last step and what a crowning touch! That was the final mark of ownership.

Now I’m not finished with that point (pun) but please let me inject this.


My life is like the knife that I “created.” I have been through the furnace and heated, hammered and shaped by the Creator of all. And He is still in the hammering mode! But I know God loves me and in His grace and mercy, He forms me and has given me the marks of the Lord Jesus. “I bear in my body the scars, love marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.” And I also have the earnest of the Holy Spirit, which displays ownership. And even as the last process that Gary performed - the tempering of the blade - God has tempered my life for His service! The knife has only one purpose and that is to cut. I have only one purpose and that is to please God, in obedience to His Word and will. Thank you!

The forging of the knife and other things just added to my compulsive desire to learn of my forbearers, since I never met my grandparents except for my paternal grandmother and her third husband.

I had asked “Aunt Bea, would you tell me about grandpa Revoir?”

She replied, “He was a very loving man,” after a slight hesitation as she was searching her mind for the past. “He played the violin. He was a big man. He laughed a lot and loved to be with people.”

The compulsion was becoming very intense and I was afraid that I would lose this moment and maybe my quest would never be ended.

“Aunt Bea, what did he do?”

He was a blacksmith.” And almost in the same breath she intoned, “He used to make us smoked sausage.”

The riddle was solved, I finally had my answers.

I can’t explain it. All I know was when I picked up that hammer it was not strange to me!


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