Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Blessing or A Lesson?

"We met for a reason, either you're a blessing or a lesson."
Frank Ocean
In 1975, the following poem appeared in the December issue of New Wine magazine.  It was written by Sylvia R. Evans.  A friend typed it out for me and I have carried it in my Bible ever since.
Drink Offering
Yes, Lord,
I said
That I would be
As wine poured forth
Upon Thine
But I did not
That pouring forth
Would be complete -
The emptying
Of the full cup.
Upon Thine altar -
What a place
For dregs to flow
And uncrushed grapes
To show so clearly
In the liquid life
I gave Thee there.
No effort that I made
Could gather up
The total life outpoured
And put it back into the cup.
You saw it, Lord
In all its imperfection,
Though I turned to run
From priests and
I did not know
Their ministry of
Crushing grapes
Poured out
Upon Your altar
Would crush me, too.
But they are Thine,
With task divine,
And Thine
is my NEW WINE.

My friend gave me this poem at a particularly difficult time in my life.  I had given my heart wholeheartedly to God and told Him to do what He needed to do to change me, to mold me into His image.  I had told Him I wanted to walk through the "narrow gate" and learn to "die to myself" so I could be used by Him in His purposes for my life.
I was too immature to understand what I was really asking of the Lord, but He knew what my heart truly needed and wanted and He began the strong work of sanctification in me.  Never did I realize God would use those I considered my closest friends.
God does send people into our lives to either be a blessing or a lesson and we need to embrace both when they come.  The greatest lessons we will learn is when we "rub up against one another."  That is the time God shows us what's truly and deepest in our hearts. 

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

And isn't this what we pray for?  For God to change our hearts.  These times come hard; we feel betrayed; we feel deeply hurt; and we even feel that God has forsaken us.  BUT, the work He does is deep and ever lasting.  The deliverance God wants to do comes with a cost.  And we need to be prepared to pay it.
I've learned over the years that when I am in a relational struggle with someone, I need to ask the Lord -

"Lord, what are you wanting to show me here?  What's in my heart that you are touching on right now?  Reveal it to me, Lord and do your best work." 

God is using the person (or people) that we struggle with as Sanctifiers in our lives.  He has a perfect plan and He uses all to fulfill those plans and for His glory!
When we bow to the Lord and cooperate and refuse to see the person as the problem, God can do mighty things in us.  But if we rail against the person, we, in effect, rail against the Lord and He can't accomplish in us what He desires.  And rest assured, you will go around that mountain again!!
I've also learned the hard way that God is not "for" me and "against" the other person, when I have a problem.  He is also not "against" me and "for" them.  No, in these situations, God is for God - to work in each heart to accomplish His will.
Our hearts need only to cooperate with His will and let him perform the "surgery" necessary and we will see the great and mighty things of the Lord accomplished right in our own heart!!
Is there someone in your life right now that is becoming a lesson?  Cooperate with God and you will see that person become the blessing!!
I am truly thankful for all God has done in my heart and for those He used in the process.  God taught me a lot in and through them.  That said, I am thankful I learned the first time around because I certainly don't want to circle that mountain again!!  :)



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