I'm hard pressed on every side. Crushed
between a rock and a hard place. With no more ability to offer
resistance than a grape caught in a winepress, my only choice
is to burst, giving absolutely everything I am and all that
I have to the winemaker.
Time, Energy & Money!
I'm told that the purpose behind my present pain will someday be
explained or understood. A small consolation when I can't focus on
anything except the fact that I hurt. I hurt so badly it amazes me
that the intensity of the pain has not sapped the very life out of
me. Evidently, pain itself cannot kill you; or I would've died a
thousand times already…and it would've been a sweet release.
Did I really volunteer for this crushing, unrelenting assignment?
Was I aware there would be precious little encouragement as I walk
along this valley? And it's a dark, cold, dangerous and lonely valley.
The images I see on my left and my right aren't just figments of
my imagination. They are real; and they'll stop at nothing to do
me harm. And it's because of you, the winemaker, (also known as the
potter.) That's precisely why they hate me so…because they hated
They scream lies to everyone in the winepress, trying in vain to “curdle” us,
and separate us, so we cannot blend together as we were intended
What on earth am I supposed to do about it? I'm crushed myself.
All I can do is listen intently to your still small voice, and beg
you to somehow deaden the sound of the enemies. Soften the blows
from their psychological, mental and sometimes physical blows.
IT'S COME TO THIS
So far, I've been: bludgeoned, battered, despised, cursed, mocked,
suffocated and alienated. All because I signed up to go into the
winepress. I could no sooner leave the winepress than I could cease
to be a grape. It's completely out of my hands. I don't regret my
decision…I know that I'm a portion of something that will be ultimately
wonderful. I know that my present pain will yield something making
me more valuable, even healing for others.
But oh, my God it hurts. Can't you do something about the pain?
Can't you just bless me with respite? I used to boast about my strength…how
I wish I could take back those arrogant thoughts and words…I couldn't
be any weaker than I am now. So totally helpless. It's pitiful.
A PURPOSE IN THE PAIN
Has that been part of the plan? Is it somehow about me? Did you
need to allow me to be bruised to this extent to eliminate my inaccurate
perception of what I could accomplish on my own strength?
Well, I'd say you've made your point. I get it. There's no pride
left to be wrung out from me. I've reached rock bottom and burrowed
in a few inches. I only boast in you, and take pride in what you
can do with such a weak, weak creature like me.
Get me out of this winepress! Take me off of the Potter's wheel!
Deliver me from wandering in this desert, thirsting for water! As
a child comes before a loving Father, I cling to your ankles absolutely
begging for sanctuary.
There is simply no other hope than hoping in you. You alone have
the power to fight the demons…the ones outside me and the secret
ones that lurk within. I've tried to get rid of them in my own strength,
and it was worse than futile…akin to deliberately banging my head
against a brick wall in the hopes of knocking it down.
I can't complete this assignment unless you do all the work.
And I mean all of it.
The only thing I have to offer is yieldedness. I offer up what's
left of me to you as a meager offering.
A MIRACULOUS PRECEDENT
You multiplied 5 loaves of bread and two small fish and fed over
5,000 people with it. Well, here we go again. What I have to offer
is so small that it will take an outright miracle for you to make
a dent in this multitude. But I offer up my two mites hoping against
hope for your acceptance. As I make my offering, onlookers laugh
at my pathetic tiny contribution.
And then I hear the still small voice. You are pleased. My gift
of everything I have somehow pleases you. You love me. You cry with
me as the winepress churns out yet another ounce of what used to
be my life blood.
I won't need that old life blood anymore. You've given me new life.
Eternal life that cannot be taken away. I hear whispers your love,
you've written an entire book declaring your love and concern for
me. And you proved your love for me in front of the entire world,
standing with your arms outstretched, taking my sins upon yourself.
You endured unimaginable physical, spiritual and mental suffering
because you love your children so. Like the tiniest drop of arsenic
makes a gallon of cool, clean purified water toxic; you spared your
children from drinking from the well they poisoned with their own
hands. You've given your children living water. And the cost of that
living water was enormous. For the love of me…your child, you found
the way to preserve my free will, and take care of the justice due
to me for my propensity to sin.
But there's more. You send gentle winds that whisper “I love you.
You are mine.” You command the birds to sing sweetly outside my window,
a song of your care. You've given me brothers and sisters who love
me, and encourage me. And no matter what I might think, you've never
left me alone to walk along the valley of the shadow of death.
You have always been with me. Comforting me with your rod and your
staff. You've prepared a table for me in the presence of my enemies,
my cup actually runs over. Without a doubt, your goodness and mercy
will continue to chase after me all the days of my life until I go
to dwell in your house forever.
So be it.