Friday, July 13, 2007

Are You in the Grist Mill?

The elderly gentleman smiled as he pulled on a rope that lifted a gate on a stone canal and let the water flow. He stood there explaining the nature of the apparatus before us. It was a mill. A grist mill. The farmer put his grain into a bin that slowly, methodically let it flow into the path of a large stone. That stone pulverized the grain, producing a fine flour; the farmer was quite proud. The water turned a wheel, the wheel turned the gears, and the gears moved the perfectly round stones in such a way that the grain became flour.

I looked and felt that there was a true lesson in that. Sometimes we are visitors at the grist mill. We stand aside and witness difficulties in other's lives. But sometimes we feel like we are in the mill. We feel ground up. We feel like we are being pulverized.

Let's get real. Sometimes we are being pulverized. We are under the rollers, being pressed. Maybe not literally, but certainly emotionally and spiritually. Think about it; someone calls you with devastating news from a doctor. I read some news like that this very morning about a friend of mine. I was grieved for her. Someone calls in the middle of the night and tells you a loved one has died. I received that e mail this morning, too; one of my friends lost her father. That, along with many other things, has happened to most of us. If it has not happened to you, yet, hang on; it will.

The big question is, what will you do when you are in the grist mill? The purpose of the mill is to provide sustenance--nourishment--for others. Your crushed life can be something that helps someone else to grow and be more like Jesus. The one phone call that has impacted me most this year was from a friend in another South American nation. He told me that he was ready to quit, to pack it up and go home. But when we stayed in spite of the terrible, crushing blows that came our way a year ago, it inspired him and his wife. He said our "flour" was his nourishment and helped him to stay. I learned a lot from that single call. It was like a love letter from Christ to my heart.

That is not the only lesson for us. When life crushes you and me, others will see what is inside. They are supposed to see love, joy, peace, endurance, and a few other kinds of grain the Master has sown in our hearts. But sometimes others see weeds, don't they? Sometimes the cares of this world overtake the fruit of the Spirit. God shows us this so that we can correct the problem; and the problem would be that we are not walking in the Spirit.

Are you in the grist mill? Are you being crushed by life's pulverizing stones? Let the Master Miller make fine flour of your circumstance; then go feed others with it.

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