Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Being Squished

Yesterday, a friend had invited me to come pick from her garden.  She had canned all the tomatoes she needed and had a large number ripening on the vine.  What a blessing that was to me!  I already had two bags from someone else so when all was said and done, it ended up being about 50 lbs.

I got my handy tomato presser out and set up.  Have you ever seen one of these?  The tomatoes go in the top. 

You crank the handle and the skins and seeds come out the side onto the pan and the sauce runs down metal trough into the bowl. 

It can be messy.  My kitchen always looks like a tomato bomb exploded in it.  Juice flies everywhere.  But it's quick.  It's easy and cleanup isn't that bad.  It's certainly better then standing there for hours peeling, de-seeding, and juicing tomatoes.

As I was squishing the tomatoes yesterday, I thought about how much our Christian walk can be like this. The pressure of trials and struggles and this world are overwhelming.  It’s too much to bear at times.  We just want to give up!

And yet, if we trust God and allow Him to lead the way, he can take those trials and turn them into something beautiful in our lives.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9; 16-18 ~ 

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.  

We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.

Isn't that encouraging?  We are hard-pressed and being squished on every side and yet, if we keep our eyes on the Lord, He gives us the strength to come out the other side stronger and more like Him.  He is turning us into beautiful people!  We are beautiful because when we have faith in the midst of trials, we are a shining light to those around us.  We can be an example of faith in the midst of suffering.

When I was all finished with squishing the tomatoes yesterday, I simmered the juice for hours.  It turned into beautiful, red sauce which I canned. 

It was hard work and this morning my muscles ache from pressing down the tomatoes in the funnel and cranking at the same time.  But it is worth it!  When I see the beautiful jars of sauce and when I am using them in delicious dishes, I will see how my hard work has paid off.

Our lives are like that too.  When we look back on a trial, we can often see how God used something that was terrible at the time to shape us into people who are more like Him.  We too can see how that difficulty turned us into something beautiful!  

And that is worth the squishing!