There’s a saying, “Strike while the iron is hot!” When forging iron or steel, it is very hard and resists change until a certain temperature, when it suddenly becomes soft like putty. This is when you can decide the shape and purpose of the blade. Afterward, its attributes are fixed and resist any change.
As a furnace does this to the metal, this worldly life is similar: hot and difficult and often damaging, but it makes us soft and pliable, in a spiritual sense, giving us the freedom to choose our soul’s path.
And as the metal is pounded into shape, it is constantly tested: a repeated cycle of hammering and testing. After the blade is quenched and ready, no more testing occurs: then is the time for use. `Abdu’l-Bahá said, “the tests and trials of God take place in this world, not in the world of the Kingdom”. This is where God discerns our capacities and what we can bear, but once the metal has set, the time for tests comes to end.