The True Wine

This season of life is understandably busy. By understandably, I hope you understand I am not going to list out everything, but trust me when I say I have never felt more pressed against from every side—even when the pressing is good and from beloved people or tasks. There have been seasons of life where the grapes have grown thick on the vine, where I have turned my face to the sunlight and pressed my roots in deep. And there will be seasons ahead when I pray I am a sweet wine, a drink offering to my Father, a joy-bringer in the Kingdom's party.

But today, and this season, feels like the crushing vat in between.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I had one agenda this weekend: to sleep.

I've been sick since mid August with some combination of a cold, allergies, infections, strep, flu, and exhaustion, and I just haven't been able to beat it. I know that much of is due to circumstances beyond my control, but some of it has been God's gentle reminder to me that I am no superhuman—and I need sleep.

And I needed to repent.

I needed to repent for a few things, namely being busy. So busy that I couldn't see straight for the past few weeks. There is a lack of insight into my life and others, a lack of trust in the Lord and those whom He has put into place for me to trust, and there has been a self-pity that has set in. I needed to repent for those things.

But I also needed to repent for not seeing the crushing as part of the process.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'm a good western Christian, raised with the belief if I worked hard enough and put my hand to the plow long enough, I would see a bountiful growth in a short time.

The truth is, though, that sometimes the space of time between the sowing and the reaping is a very long time—and there is waiting and pain and pressing that happens before the harvest's spoils are feasted upon.

I don't like being pressed though, I hate it. I haven't liked not having time to give to regular writing, reading, and thinking. I have begun to despise the things that press for my time and energy. I want to do it all, I want to be both grapes and wine—forgoing the process that takes one to the other—and ignore the reality that one cannot be both fruit and flavor. Not in this case at least.

Jesus knew this of course and I want to remind myself of this. He came to be pressed on our behalf so we could enter into the true feast of the wine. We could not sip of His fullness, His robust flavor, His joy-bringing feast, if He had not willingly taken the cup of suffering—crushed on our behalf.

Tim Keller said, in one of my favorite sermons,

"In order to drink the cup of joy with us, he had to drink the cup of justice on our behalf...He came give His water, His blood, to be our true wine—our bridegroom."

Instead of running from the busyness of this season, attempting to shirk the pushing and ignore the pressing, I want to press myself into the crushing process. To trust the process of taking fruit to its full fruition, the drink this cup for this day. To trust He is the true wine and all that is left of me at that final feast will be of Him.

Taste and see the Lord is good! Psalm 24:8