Yesterday, I received an early Father’s Day gift from my daughter, Anna. It was a mortar and pestle from Bali. Since I enjoy cooking this gift really blessed me. In the bowl of the mortar shown in the photograph are the herbs, garlic cloves and olive oil that I would soon crush to make a marinade for the baked cod fillets we were having for lunch. Crushing the herbs took the flavor profile of the meal to the next level. The fragrance of the crushed herbs filled our kitchen and sparked our appetites.
As I looked at the ingredients sitting in the mortar bowl waiting to be crushed, I thought of our lives and how in certain seasons it feels like we have spent time on the receiving end of an emotional stone pestle. We want to keep things in our lives tidy, separate and unchanged, but there are times when parts of our life will get crushed without our permission under the weight of suffering. In some instances, our lives are changed beyond recognition in comparison to what was previously known. There are hidden blessings waiting to be discovered in these crushing times if we choose to see them.
God can turn our crushing seasons into something beautiful that will result in a deeper union with His heart. Crushing has the potential to transform the fragrance and flavor of our lives into something wonderfully unexpected, just like the herbs and oil formed a marinade that transformed an otherwise normal meal into something extraordinary. In these experiences, the witness of our life will become like the fragrance of the crushed herbs that filled our kitchen with expectancy. That witness will announce to others that an exquisite meal of a shared fellowship with the sufferings of Christ is always available to us on the other side of a crushing season if we choose to look to Him and not the suffering to find our answers.