Psalm 112:7 says, "They do not fear bad news; they confidently and steadfastly trust in the Lord to care for them."
God crushes us. Intentionally. Sheesh, cheerful thought, huh? I promise I am getting somewhere with this... and it's a promise of hope. What a paradox! We are Abba's children, aren't we? Why do we suffer? Isaiah 53:10 says, "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand."
I have actually been thinking about this a lot recently. At face value, it seems like God is a Goliath. Doesn't it? As a ministry leader, I have been asked this question a million and ten times. To be fully transparent, I don't believe we can ever understand what God does and why, but what we do know is that our suffering produces more fruit than without. What would happen in the strongest of storms if our roots weren't deep and we didn't have grit? We would tumble over with just the weakest wind and be ripped out!
Have you ever given thought to the fact that God, in His full glory, even crushed His own son? It's inevitable. That is the most beautiful part about His love-- that the crushing is never wasted and it always has a purpose. Not a malicious purpose! We also can be confident in the fact that Jesus is our advocate because He surely understands the crushing and suffering. Though it hurts in the middle, the end result is worth it. Haven't we all seen this in our lives? Zechariah 13:9 says, "And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as God is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people' and they will say, 'The Lord is my God.'" I know for me, there are so many times that when I sit down to read my Bible, verses just speak so heavily on my heart and this has always been a verse that has done that for me. Don't we go through excruciating hills and valleys just as the Bible characters did?
Please don't misunderstand me, there is a God out there who sees the finish line. Not just where you are right now, but sees where you are after the fire and crushing. Isn't that beautiful? Isn't that so filled with hope? God shouts in our pain and we are awakened with His mighty roar. Wow! Can we be content within this? When I think of God, I don't think of the word "careful." I think of the words "wild," "free," and sometimes even "reckless," in a good way, of course. Sometimes wrathful, always just, and never oscillate.
What does it mean for God to not be careful? What does it mean to love a so-called "reckless" God? What does it mean to yield to His mighty hand when we are being crushed on every single side? Being crushed on every single side means that you will be blessed on every single side as a result. Praise God!
I know He sees me and sees right through my fragile heart. I know He sees you and sees through your fragile heart, as well. When these storms come and we are crushed, we build grit that will sustain us through the next storm and even the next after that. There is intention in the crushing and though it may not seem beautiful in that season, keep holding on! As much as we sometimes want it to, our fragile hearts aren't taken into consideration when it comes to God working in and through us. The One living in us is the One who will carry us through every single battle.
God is our Fearless Warrior. He is our source of all power and strength. He is not weak nor is He fragile. He doesn't break. Would we ever trust a God who does?
We always hear that God will never give us something we can't handle. Truthfully, I think this is the biggest lie that us Christians believe. Where in the Word does it say that God holds back because of our weakness? Where in the Word does it say that God doesn't give us some impossible tasks so that His power may be known in us? The brutal fact is this-- our God is all-powerful and the cost of loving someone with that amount of power doesn't just include allowing Him to do amazing things in and through us, but also gives Him the power to crush us. Just as grapes are crushed for new wine, I believe sometimes God does that with us, too. Isn't that raw and brutal?
We know through scripture that our hands could never encompass the might that our God has and truthfully, I know it was intentional by Him. He cannot be held back by anything. Shouldn't that provide rest in our souls that the One within us is never moved by the destruction of this world? Not even with all this political stuff, all the disease, and even all the poverty? Don't mistake me-- God is brokenhearted for those who cannot fight for themselves and His heart is moved for the orphans and widows, as His Word says. God is brokenhearted from the sin we catch ourselves falling into daily oh so very easily. If our hearts weren't so marred, maybe our eyes could see the world in the same way. Wouldn't it be beautiful if everyone could see the world as He does?
Don't you think He wants the best for us? I sure do. But don't you also see that His best for us doesn't always see eye to eye with what we think is best? Even in the holding periods, as many of us are in including myself, how could His best be in the waiting? It is not a contradiction of His promise, but just simply a waiting time, a postponement, of His beautiful promise to come. Remember that fire He set within you so many years ago before the waiting? Yes, that is still burning in you. We just need to choose to see and feel it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find it again, sweet friend. When you love someone deeply, you don't just give them the power to make you feel on top of the world, but you give them the power to destroy you. Yes, even in the crushing, His joy will find you there.
So my question to you is this-- are you going to yield to His mighty hand? Are you going to accept the crushing and the stretching so that He may be glorified through you? Will you choose to be crushed so that He can hack away at your heart? Perhaps, in these grueling, most uninvited times of needed patience, we can bravely let the hand of God crush us. Instead of waiting quietly for this time to pass, we can use this time to be vulnerable with one another to help grow and stretch our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even in this waiting and crushing of our hearts, we can even joyfully welcome it knowing that God is sovereign over our struggle. Maybe we can make the most out of the uninvited and crushing seasons if our eyes stay on Him. This could be me and this could be you.
Will you make the most out of the crushing?