LEAVE ROOM FOR THE CRUSHING
“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” - Hebrews 5:8
Several years ago, 2009 to be exact, Scott and I attended the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. For those of you who might not know, Catalyst Conference was a gathering of emerging church leaders where there was a continuous stream of speakers that scramble your brain and the attire for the event was usually skinny jeans, plaid flannel and hair product… lots of hair product… and that was just the guys.
Sometimes, a speaker would say something so unsettling, you wish you hadn’t heard it. Chuck Swindoll made such a statement at the Catalyst Conference. He began with a quote from a British pastor/evangelist, Alan Redpath, “When God wants to do an impossible task, He takes an impossible person and He crushes him.” And then Swindoll said, “Leave room for the crushing. It is part of the curriculum God uses to make us ready to do what He wants us to do.”
Was Redpath correct? Does God crush us? Or are we crushed under the weight of our own sinful choices or from living in a broken world? Maybe it’s all of it. I remember feeling crushed. Crushed because the marriage I had wanted so badly at one time left me lonely and disillusioned. Crushed because I realized just after the birth of my first child the magnitude of my decision to have an abortion in my teens. Crushed because everything I had built my sense of identity upon was stripped away and I had no idea who I was. Crushed from a sense of failure as a parent of teenagers. I’m feeling crushed with grief now since losing my dad to cancer.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Crushings are painful seasons of suffering and they leave a tender spot in our souls. That tenderness of soul helps us remember God’s faithfulness to walk us through them and make it all useful somehow. My calling and purpose in helping women and couples grow stems directly from my seasons of suffering and the compassionate heart that God has cultivated for people in pain. True to Dr. Swindoll’s comment, it is what God used most to prepare me for my purpose and to give me peace and encouragement that none of my pain is wasted.
Feel like you are in a season of suffering? You can know that if God is having anything to do with it, He will not destroy you. That is not His desire. The apostle Paul, who was acquainted with crushings assures us…
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11).
His desire is to make us into the image of His Son so that we will live like Him in this world to bring light to darkness, to be a living demonstration of His faithfulness and goodness.
- Is God allowing you to be crushed right now? If so, where?
- If you’re being crushed, how are you responding to it? From where are you drawing strength and encouragement?
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
Scott & Dawn Smith