Thursday, September 26, 2013

Been Through the Wringer?

My Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill lived in a small house on the property with the fire tower he worked at.  The house didn’t have running water until I was about 8 years old.  She had one of those old gyrator washing machines which sat outside. No electricity was needed and it also had a set of rollers on top. You’d put the clothes through after you’d rinsed them to squeeze out the excess water.  As I think back about that old washer I am amazed at how much work it was to use the thing. Now we just plop our clothes in, set the machine and close the lid.  Back then it was work. But the wringer sure got all the water out of those clothes. They’d roll through and water would pour out the back as they were squeezed.  One always had to be careful not to get their fingers caught in the roller as you had to hold the clothes and wind the rollers at the same time.

God speaks to my heart: I’ve been through the wringer. I would imagine you have too.  Hard times, unfavorable outcomes, hurt feelings, rejection, sorrow, pain all make us feel as though we are being squeezed until we can hardly breathe. We want relief but it seems we’re relentlessly rolled through.

It looks to us that we’re going to die. It looks that way to the observers as well. People are watching and we’re unable to stop the roll.  It’s too much. As the problems roll over us, we’re mashed flat.  

Except that God is with us. He’s with us as the storms of life put us through the gyrator of heartache. And He’s there when we are being wrung out and even when it looks like we’re hung out to dry.

In fact, while others and while we ourselves think it’s the death knell of our life, our ministry, our calling, our heart, our mind, God says it’s just a momentary thing. It’s really going to be okay. It’s not deadly, it’s not going to kill us. In fact, to God this squeezing of our life is just the removal of unnecessary weight.  All that’s going to get through the times of testing and trials is us. There’s nothing else that can get through the pressure.  And even then, when others think we’re done, we’re just moving on.

God will set us out in the breeze of life and pin us up for the world to see our beautiful life.  He will use us to help others to get through everything we’re going through, if we will just keep our eyes on Him.  No one else really matters. We might try to blame the offense on a person, a circumstance or a trouble. But ultimately it is God who has put us through the wringer and it is God who is allowing the excess stuff to be wrung from us.  And it is God who is holding out His hand to pick us up, shake us out and display us for His glory.

Oh beloved, there’s no way to minimize the wringers of life. I know it’s hard. God knows it’s hard. God knows you feel like dying.  He knows you must go through it. But He knows that you will come out better for the situation. He looks at you with love and He asks you to look at Him with the same trusting love.   Life’s situations aren’t always fair, right or pretty. But once you’ve been through it, and once you give it all to Him, He will make you sweet smelling, worshiping, growing and better.

His greatest desire is that you let Him have everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. He’ll wash you with the water of the word and together you and He will have a greater testimony of faith for you will know how much He loves you and how carefully He is for you and that’s all that really matters.

I Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,  casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalm 62:8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

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