God is a master at linking our experiences together to teach us a new truth or remind us of a lesson once learned, but perhaps forgotten. Reading “Break Me, Mold Me, Refine Me” (on At the Well’s site), I realized its message connected to the tender lesson the Lord had just re-taught me. In the process of preparing dinner today, I used my daughter’s wooden mortar and pestle to grind up herbs for the Chicken Cacciatore I was making. As I held the wooden bowl and ground the dried herbs, crushing the leaves and twigs into a powder, I heard the crackle as they broke, and smelled the pungent aroma released, and was reminded of a spiritual analogy.
We are like the dry sticks and leaves waiting to be used. God, in His infinite wisdom chooses, at times, to take these sticks and leaves and crush them using the mortar and pestle of physical suffering, trials, hardships, rejection or painful circumstances in order that He may release the sweet aroma of Christ to others and make us useable for His glory.
He does this, not because He hates us, but because He loves us. He did not keep back even His own Son from suffering, allowing Him to be crushed for our sakes. God’s purposes are not always clear to us during the trial. Let’s keep in mind the aroma that is produced and the multitude of uses He can put us to after we have gone through crushing trials, placing ourselves in His Loving Hands.
He knows, and we have experienced, that when we are crushed and broken, we become useable and He is able to feed, nourish and bless the lives of others through us.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:3-6)
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:10-11)
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good… Genesis 50:20