And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
Have you ever found yourself hating how much it hurts to wring something out that doesn’t belong inside of you? I’m talking about all the stuff that comes at us and then “fills” us in ways that make us feel polluted, tainted, and just plain…changed.
Yes, it’s the stuff that comes from the outside in, but tries to fake us out ~ trick us into believing it is what we are really made of. It takes up residence inside of us and makes us feel it is who we really are inside. It wants to become us. It declares dictatorship and “convert or die.” It’s gotten in – on the inside – and it seems to be taking over. It makes itself comfortable, and creates a panic of sorts about the prospect of the wringing it would take to eradicate it completely.
But this is all a lie.
I’ve experienced this in many ways and on many levels, friends. I’m sure you have too. Every time it happens, I find myself buying in somewhat to the false truth it portends. I find myself thinking “this is what makes me up as a person” or “this is just who I am, I guess” even though I know that it is false. I find myself fearing the wringing process that will be necessary if I wish to continue to fight – to live in truth and love, and all of the discomfort that entails.
- Sickness or poor health ravaging our bodies – taking over and wreaking havoc from what seems to be the inside out.
- Sin – bitterness, lack of love, self-reliance, idols – filling up the crevices of our hearts and minds and threatening to spread and take over. Sneaking in – stealing – enveloping and overtaking.
- The Busy ~ the movement through this life, all the errands, responsibilities, things to check off our list (even when done so under the guise of good intentions and motivations). The busy which threatens to make up the whole, or the majority of our existence. Severing time to soak up grace, love, time spent with Jesus and others – our loved ones – our dears – becoming us instead of being an outpouring of what God has laid in front of us this day and this day alone.
- Weariness- the constant uphill battle it seems to be in order to just “make it” through the hardship parts this life involves.
Getting inside. Taking up space. Making its best effort to define us, to own us. From the inside out. And it breeds when left alone. It breeds.
There’s no room for that, friends. There’s no room to allow darkness to take up residence and take over. This is because Jesus lives there. Jesus lives inside. Jesus fills us with His light, His love, His truth, His compassion, grace, and mercy. He is the inside. And sometimes, He must wring out the darkness and the ugly and the evil.
Yes, wringing hurts, but it’s necessary at times. Even with the divine molding and twisting that our Savior lovingly performs in our lives (when we move out of the way and brace ourselves for the pain that is good for us), some residue of dark can still remain – especially if it’s due to sickness. But the more wringing we allow Him to do, the more we are reminded that He is what defines us. He is cleaning the crevices for us on a daily basis if we come to Him and ask Him to do His work inside.
He defines us on the inside, even when what’s coming from the outside threatens us. He reigns, friends. He reigns!
Moving the ugly to the outside – daily – well, it hurts. But it’s necessary as long as we walk in these fleshly bodies. It’s necessary as long as the enemy tries to sabotage us. It’s necessary if we wish to grow, be pruned, yield fruit. The cup of ugly and pain may not be removed from us, but there is triumph there, nonetheless, if we live and walk in the light of Christ Jesus. HE IS OUR KING!
Wringing: It’s a necessary grace that’s painful to receive, but rewarding beyond what we could ever imagine.
I want to be a beautiful vine filled with lush and lovely fruit that screams Jesus! I’m all-too-aware that doesn’t come easy, friends. The worms try to come inside. The toxins try to pollute. But I always have to remind myself: They are coming from the outside in. And they will meet a formidable enemy upon entry. The light and endless and glorious power of the Lord Jesus Christ!
- He says: “She is mine.”
- He says: “You don’t belong here and you will not be keeping her.”
- He says: “She knows the truth, and I am that truth – not you.”
- He declares: “Your “power” is temporary, and just an illusion – I will make certain she knows this without question.”
And when the worms and the poison threaten to take up residence permanently, our Jesus will wring us out in His own divine and all-knowing way. One day He will decide it’s the time that we go home to live with Him forever – outside of this cocoon that has become polluted. It will be the day that the wringing has become enough. It will be the day that HE decides it is time for us to break out…truly break out of the cocoon that we have struggled to protect and wring out – struggled to make last for so very long.
That day ~ it will be the day that our Savior deems to be the day of all days for us ~ the day in which it is finally time to fly. It is the day that this vessel has been deemed to no longer be fit for a King.
Oh what a day! But until then, the wringing – the glorious and pain-filled wringing – it must continue.
There is a beauty I can’t even put into words to be found in the grace that Jesus bestows upon us as He wrings out the ugly trying to come inside and define us. There is a mercy that is severe and seemingly twisted, yet a gift to be treasured all at the same time. He knows our plight – He knows our suffering. And He will make all things work together (truly, He will) for our GOOD.
Thanks be to HIM. The hurt is well worth it.
In this I trust. Completely.
Romans 12:2 Allow God to transform you. He will mold you and renew your mind as He changes your way of thinking. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Then you will always be able to decide what God’s will for you which is good, pleasing, and perfect.