“Lord”, my voice broke again as fresh tears splashed down my face. “I feel like the desert in me blossomed, but I was left on the vine. Now my blossom has become overblown and the petals are starting to fall.” (Isaiah 35:1 “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”) (see previous posts) The splashing tears became heavy sobs once again and I said to myself as much as to the to Lord, “So what does a person do with such deep disappointment?” ..
I struggled to catch my breath as a great pressure weighed down on me. I finally fell asleep with a silent prayer of “Oh comfort me, comfort me, Lord…”.
It was the night of August 16, 2013, and I was winding down from hours of grief and prayer. I had been listening to a man of God preach that evening, I wish I could say I remember what he preached, but I cannot. It was just one phrase he spoke that struck me so deeply. He said to himself, “I don’t want to be deceived…I don’t want to be deceived…” He was saying that after all these years of serving God and all that he had been through, he didn’t want to blow it at this late hour.
All I remember of the service is, at some point, leaving the computer and going to stand in the middle of my living room with my arms raised, talking to God. I said, “Lord, I don’t want to be deceived!!” I thought of my deepening walk with God and the days and hours of consecration. I thought of the potter’s wheel and of the changes my God had made in me, and I didn’t want to blow it. I thought of how precious my prayer time had become and how precious the Word of God had become to me, I thought of the past year and a half of preparation, physically and mentally and the increase in confidence to work and pray with others and my increase in understanding and I didn’t want to blow it. I not only didn’t want to blow it, I didn’t want to “want” something so badly that I couldn’t let go of it. I knew I had to let go. I said, “This is it, Lord. This is where the rubber meets the road. I said to you that I submit myself and my dream to you to do with what you choose and you are taking me up on it. That’s OK Lord, I meant it then and I mean it now. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
I woke the next morning, thinking about the terrible pressure I had experienced the night before and spoke to the Lord, saying, “Lord, I don’t ever want to go through that pressure again. Please tell me I won’t have to go through that again…” As the tears slid down my cheeks, I thought about how the pressure had been so physically heavy on me that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I spoke out loud, describing it to the Lord. “Lord, I don’t know if I can do that again…the pressure was so great, I didn’t think I could breathe, please tell me I won’t have to go through that again… Lord it felt like it was crushing me…” It was when I said the word, “crushing”, that it all came together for me. I said to myself, “It’s in the crushing that the fragrance of the rose is obtained.” It was the “crushing of the rose”. My blossom hadn’t been neglected, it was being perfected until it was ready to produce an oil of fragrance. I didn’t want to ever forget this precious insight, so I went so far as to go to a gift shop and buy a silver keepsake box. I had it engraved with, Isaiah 35:1 on the top line with a sprig of roses below and the date, 8-16-2013 below that. I got myself a rose and put the blossom in the box. Silly me…I thought you only go through the crushing once. I was to find out, that was not so.
It wasn’t long before I had an even greater disappointment that left me questioning everything I thought I knew. I not only questioned my calling…I questioned my sanity. I felt God was moving me, but what if all of my expectations, were just a product of my imagination. Was I deceiving myself? Did God really speak? Were all of those things I took as confirmation, just the product of a foolish, worked up mind? I went back to the brazen altar time after time. I opened the curtain to God on things I hadn’t yet talked to Him about. I traced back in my mind through rabbit holes until I got to the origin of each thing. I learned first hand that even a little bit of folly can ruin the fragrance of the rose that had been so hard bought. Ecclesiastes 10:1 “Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor;’so doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.” These were hard lessons, but I became diligent to guard my fragrance. The pressure was on me continually and I came very close to becoming hardened by it, but by the grace of God, I recognized I was in danger of letting the trial destroy me. When the pressure became too great, I learned to warn myself, “Your fragrance! Your fragrance!”
God is so very good. I’m sure the crushing will probably become a frequent visitor, but as God spoke to me through a Brother in December of last year, I’m walking in the dark…but all that matters is, I know Who holds my hand.
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD