Since I have been writing from the first chapter of James, let me ask you this question. Have you been feeling like you are being strung along from trial to trial to trial? Do you ever wonder if there is any relief? To be honest I am in a place where I wonder if the rest of my life will be trial after trial after trial with not much rest in between. I have been wrestling with this thought and have been praying for God's mercy to help me have a better perspective and acceptance of the things we face in life.
When I write about things it certainly is not to show what I know as though I have arrived in those areas. The writing is usually an expression of the very things God is dealing with in me and the issues I am wrestling with. I want to be known as someone who is real, not religious and self righteous. I feel that God wants us to be a relatable people. This means we need to be open with others that we in fact struggle with the same things and that we are just as helpless without Him as the next person. Does this mean we are to go around spreading negativity? No, but there is a door that opens into the heart and lives of others when we can share that we also struggle in our faith at times.
To be perfectly honest I love God very much. However I am a bit irritated with Him in some things. I have already told Him and He knows anway. But I understand and know that He has my best interest at heart. He is into transformation, not stagnation. His will is for us to be poured. You ask, "What does it mean to be poured?"
A couple of weeks ago I came across a description of this concept and it really helped me to better understand what God has been doing in my personal life. I pray very often asking God to make me more like Him. I ask Him to teach me how to love like Him. Needless to say that is a dangerous prayer to pray and a very uncomfortable one at that. However, it is the prayer He longs for us to pray.
In Jeremiah 48, the prophet Jeremiah begins to prophecy over the people of Moab. The Moabites were a very paganist and idolatrous people who lived across the Dead Sea east of the Land of Israel.God pronounced judgement on Moab through Jeremiah and identifies what Moab's problem was. Verse 11 says, "Moab has been at ease since his youth." Why was Moab so morally weak? The answer is a life of ease. "Moab has never been disturbed, neither has he been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor and his aroma has not changed." (Jeremiah 48:11)
We have all read and heard about how God transforms us as a potter forms the clay. However, I would like to share another example of transformation and it has to do with the making of wine. When wine is fermented initially it is a combination of what is sweet and what is bitter. (That sounds like me)
Long ago wine was poured into a skin and was left there for a long time.After some time, the bitter part would fall to the bottom and become dregs. After another stretch of time, what was on the surface..the sweet stuff, was poured into another skin for another increment of time until more dregs were formed. Then after some more time, it would be poured into another skin and the same process would be repeated. This continued until there were no dregs at all because of what had been removed through the entire process. The end result was pure wine.
Unfortunately, Moab was never poured from trial to trial to trial so they remained stagnant which resulted in bitterness. This really helps me to see why we sometimes go through a continual process of trials. It is the hand of God and His work of pouring us. If you feel like you are seeing more dregs in your life, then be encouraged. God is allowing you to sit so the impurities of your soul will settle. If you feel empty, then it may very well be that you have just been poured out. Now you may have to sit a while that more dregs can settle.
When we can truly see the purpose of our struggles, then we can truly count them all joy. On another note, I really can see the sweet wine being poured as some of it splashes out onto others.
Lord, help us to not resent the process of being poured and poured and poured again. Help us to embrace the process and even trust that we can still be a blessing to others in meantime. Let the wine of Your joy sprinkle others as you transfer us from one wineskin to another. Thank you for teaching us and reminding those of us who may have already known these things but need to hear it again. May we remain humble in Your sight and remain teachable. We know we need review lessons so many times as we forget so often. We appreciate your reminders Lord. In Jesus Name.