I wasn’t there, but I’ve been hearing some amazing things about the message Chuck Swindoll brought at Catalyst 2009. My friend Justin Davis blogged about the message and his application of it in his post “Benefits Of Brokenness part 2.” which is where I first heard about it. Swindoll says,
“When God has an impossible task to accomplish, he finds and impossible person and crushes them. So leave room in your life for the crushing. Leave room for the crushing. In every great work of God, brokenness and failure are necessary.”
It’s quite interesting to me that for all the talk about wanting to “be like Jesus” that goes on in most church and “christian” circles these days, nobody wants to suffer. We all say we want God’s will for our lives, but have somehow become entitled and convinced that surely said “will of God” for us individually is chock full of blessing, favor, increase, promotion and all those other christianese buzz words we love to throw around. If anything looks as if it will challenge “our rights” to the aforementioned blessing, favor, increase or promotion, then it must be “the devil.” It seems that in our feverish pursuit of the “favor”-laden “will of God” for our lives we have somehow forgotten that the will of God for Jesus was the cross.
I’ve heard it said on more than one occasion by a preacher that while Jesus certainly died on the cross physically, it was actually in the Garden of Gethsemane where he died to his will, where he was crushed, which paved the way to the cross. In Luke 2:42 we even see Jesus at great odds with what his flesh wanted and his destiny, ultimately choosing to surrender his will and embrace the will of the Father.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Out of curiosity, because I like to cook and I’m a geek like that, I’ve been doing some research on how olive oil is made. It’s quite an interesting and involved process. What intrigued me to the point of this research was the price of olive oil at the store. I didn’t understand how olives could be so relatively cheap, but even a medium sized bottle of quality olive oil is actually quite costly.
In my research, I have found that there are many uses, even apart from cooking, for olive oil. Olives themselves have a lot of culinary uses, but it is the oil that is most valuable. Even for as many uses as the olive has, it is actually more valuable after having been crushed, processed and reduced to an oil.
Cost and value are two very different things. In fact, what something “cost” me versus the “value” of that thing can often differ greatly. Cost versus value will be perceived differently based on which side of the process I am standing on. I cannot escape the spiritual application of that fact, and it has been ringing in my heart loudly.
So, what is the cost of olive oil? Who are you asking? It may cost me $12.99, but ask the olive. It cost the olive everything.
There is a value produced by the crushing of the olive that would have never been realized if left in it’s initial state. If the olive were able to feel and speak, I am sure it would testify that the crushing is extremely painful… being torn apart, gutted, dying to what it used to be, letting go of what people expect it to look like, releasing the real value on the inside. I wonder if the olive would confess to feeling like perhaps it had failed as an olive, being broken and not knowing why, not yet understanding that what was happening was necessary in order to get the greater purpose out of its existence.
And so it is with your life. There is a such a significant value produced by the crushing of your life that would never have been realized it is were left in it’s original entitled, self-centered, prideful state. And yes, it is painful… dying to your former self, letting go of what you used to be, rebuilding, embracing the greater purpose in your existence, but knowing that it comes only through brokenness and what will likely feel like failure.
God loves your “olive”, but he wants your “oil.”
You want the will of God for your life? Leave room for the crushing.
Are you leaving room in your life for the crushing?