Spiritual Whack-A-Mole


This summer, we took the family to Living History Farms. For those who may not have visited this little gem, it is a 500-acre outdoor history museum located in Urbandale, IA. They offer visitors a glimpse at the past through recreated historic communities and events staffed by historic experts. It is an expansive, impressive and unique experience.

We started our adventure with a lively baseball game, played by 1875 rules. It was fascinating to see the vintage uniforms, watch old rules play out, and wish longingly for standards like players being fined twenty-five cents for cursing and fifty for arguing with the umpire! My, how times have changed.

Following the game, we went through a historic mansion, old newspaper office, the milliner and the drug store. I deciphered for my kids by sharing that the “General Store” was the 1875 version of Walmart. We saw lots of really neat stuff and taught our kids some interesting things, but then we got to the blacksmith. And that’s where God showed up.

I don’t mean literally of course, but I just love when you are in the middle of normal everyday stuff and God plops a lesson on you just because He’s good like that. When we walked into the blacksmith shop, the historic interpreter was clearly finishing up his talk. Thus, the only part we got to hear was about how they used an anvil. I guess that was the only part I needed. Here’s what he had to say:

“There are lots of people who work in a blacksmith shop. You see here, there may be two or three people working on an anvil. Anvils are used to shape pieces of metal. The apprentice is just supposed to hit the anvil in the same place over and over again while the master blacksmith moves the metal around because he knows what shape it is supposed to become.”

He knows what shape it is supposed to become.

The faith life translation of this experience became almost comical as it formed in my mind. God is over here being Master Blacksmith, trying to shape me and my life into the thing it is supposed to become. But, instead of hitting the anvil in the same spot as I’m supposed to, I’m playing spiritual whack-a-mole trying to mold the thing into what I think is right. Can’t you just see Him standing there, holding our still-forming futures and saying, “My child, just do your job and I’ll do mine. I know what this is supposed to look like in the end.”

We are apprentices, you guys. Always. Over and over again in Scripture God simply asks us to remain consistent, to “hit the same spot” in prayer, in service, in reading His Word and continuing to learn and grow. Our job is simply to show up in faith so that He can do His job shaping us, and our situation, to His specific design.

So, whatever giant plan you had to manipulate your day into a specific thing, let that go today. Release that feeling that you need to control what something becomes. There is great freedom to be had when we return to the simplicity of our jobs, being faithful apprentices, leaning into simple spiritual practices that leave the results to Him.

We were never meant to be the Master Blacksmith. That was and is and always will be His job. Because He knows what shape it is all supposed to become.

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