Noah asked me, “What are you doing with that crushed bottle?” as she saw me straightening out a crushed plastic bottle because I was going to reuse it.

The crushed bottle in my hands reminded me of the times when I have felt crushed on every front; my body and soul have felt like this bottle looks:

— crushed by chronic illness
— crushed by others
— crushed by finances
— crushed by life (in general)


As I thought on this, I remembered what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8,

[We are] hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed…

And that is when I realized that I am not crushed, only hard-pressed because the grace, mercy, and strength of our Lord sustains me until I overcome whatever is set before me. Acceptance happens, lessons are learned, faith is strengthened and increased, and I know that my Savior loves and abides in me.

So, I am useful in the hands of the Master. For He fills me with His living water and pours me out according to His good, pleasing, and perfect will; just like this bottle.

I do not always understand what He’s doing with me, but does it matter? Who better to trust than the living God!

My encouragement is this:  Turn to the living God, and ask Him to help you when you are being overwhelmed by life’s circumstances and feel like you are being crushed; olive oil, wine, fine perfumes, flour, and myriad good things come from things that are crushed. When we feel hard-pressed and cast down and turn to Him, we become more than conquerors and someone who is useful to Him.

The entirety of 2 Corinthians 4 begins at verse 7 and continues to verse 15:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

May our gracious and loving Father keep you in His hands, to whom be the glory forever and ever, amen.


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