“God has to break you in order to build you.” That was a post I saw in Facebook a while ago, which, of course, kept me right on track with the thematic lesson the Divine Teacher has been intently feeding into my soul for the last few…years of my life!
It is the next step to a life that could be used by the Most High.
Peter went through it, more than once. Let’s look at one instance. The following passage shows Peter boisterously proclaiming:
“Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”( Luke 22: 33)
Peter said this right after the Lord had just told him how he was going to get sifted like wheat. Peter’s problem is one of pride. It runs way too high. He thinks he can take matters into his own hands. He thinks he is strong enough to do what’s coming. He believes he’s got what it takes to solve whatever… but, does he really get it?
I’m sure he still doesn’t get it, even after Christ tells him this:
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Luke 22: 34
Peter only began to get it the moment this prophecy came true,
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:60-62
Merciful Lord…right on cue…
This passage never fails to give me the chills. He hadn’t even finished speaking when the rooster crowed…and the worst part…”the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.”
He then, did the only thing anyone in this situation would ever be able to do … he wept bitterly… Shattered…broken…
I identify with Peter so much that every time I read this; I want to weep bitterly myself as well.
The next step to a life that is re-shaped, re-built by the Hands of the Maker is brokenness.
The sifting of the wheat is only the beginning. It gets the grain out of the shell; it cleans it and separates it from the chaff, but for what? Well…so it can be pounded and grinded by the millstone until it becomes flour…until it becomes dust…
I don’t have much experience with wheat flour making, but I have witnesseed the ancient process of making corn meal. And I think it is sort of the same. Since before the Spanish, British and other Europeans came to this continent, the inhabitants of the Americas treated corn as their main staple. For some groups it was even currency. But mostly, corn was used to make their bread, tortillas. In order to get to the tortillas, dry corn had to be pulverized first. And, of course, they did it by pounding the golden grain with a stone, against a stone base to break it out of the bran until there was nothing but corn dust. Somehow, I imagine the process of wheat and all sorts of grain milling as following the same basic principle. And, since the current metaphor indicates that we are the grain…the only way our lives could be used to create the bread of life on Earth is if we first go through the mill.
I think that’s exactly how Peter felt at the sound of the rooster’s crow. At that moment, the millstone came down heavily on him like a blow from nowhere. I think that’s exactly how Peter felt when his soul burned at the sight of Our Lord’s eyes piercing his. The memory of each denial pounding on his head, stone against stone…little grain caught in between. Every time he moved his sight away from the Lord, another pounding of the stone. Every doubt, every missed opportunity, every moment of pride crushing him, breaking him until all he could do was cry bitterly…until he realized that Christ is the Only I AM.
For the child of God, the breaking is not meant for destruction. It’s meant for re-construction. Of course we are afraid of the stone that grinds us. But in our fear, we ought to trust the love of the hand behind the millstone. In our fear we need to concentrate on the good that comes after the pounding. In our fear, we look ahead at the glory that we bring to God every time He can use our lives for His Kingdom. In our fear we rejoice because we are becoming the bread that feeds His beloved.
As we enter the Christmas season, let’s think about our Lord Jesus and how He too went through the grind for us even when He was already the Bread of Life. He did it so we would know and follow His example and so in our moments of fear, we would trust He is near.
This Advent, let’s anticipate the coming of Our Emmanuel. Though the stone may crush us, it will not destroy us. It will transform us. Come Lord Jesus, come…don’t delay.