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Bountiful beauty beheld

Crush:  To press or squeeze with a force that destroys or deforms; to force out by pressing; to break.  Sometimes people don't see my fascination in the study of words, but when we take a little time to explore the various meanings of a word, we often begin to ponder things we might have missed before.  This is especially true when it comes to understanding the Word of God.  The "words" God chose to share with us in the pages of our Bible are not by chance - they are selected for their meaning.  Therefore, getting the most out of the Word of God often requires us to be open to considering the meaning of the words chosen to express a certain matter of thought or instruction.

A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? (Proverbs 18:14 MSG)

I have some friends who have been through tremendous pressures this past year, and others who are beginning this year with some of the most terrifying decisions they will have to make in their lifetime.  Some have known the birth of a child diagnosed with the growth of tumors in their tiny bodies even before they were birthed from the womb.  Others have faced the all to fatiguing venture into chemo and radiation treatments.  Still others are facing the life-altering decision of changing a child's entire life with one surgery - the surgery changing not only the crippling debility of life-threatening conditions, but presenting the probability of permanent disability as a result.  Catastrophic events - painful decisions - still more painful courses ahead.  Yet, in it all, one of the things I have seen in each of these individuals is the "extracting" of something from deep within.  They have been transformed by the events - not just in a physical sense, but in a deeply spiritual sense, as well.

Some of us think of a crushed spirit as that which cannot bear up under the weight of the pressures exerted upon it.  I beg to differ - for in the crushing process something is extracted.  I know the passage really speaks to the idea of keeping your spirit healthy - so you stand strong and face adversity well.  Yet, in the moments of crushing, there is something which was once hidden from view which comes out into the open.  Some call this hope or even faith.  Regardless of what you call it, the crushing process is what caused it to rise to the surface.  I don't think God gives us a load which will completely crush us - pulverizing us, destroying us completely.  I do believe he allows some times of "crushing" in order to extract from us what he knows is deep within.

The spirit of man is a resilient thing - made to connect directly to the Spirit of God.  There is a dynamic effect of connecting man's spirit with that of the divine Creator God's.  In fact, when the connection is made, the pressures we are faced with have a way of strengthening this connection.  Don't get me wrong - the tremendous physical adversities, emotional turmoil, and intensity of making the right decisions these individual have faced and are continuing to face is real.  We cannot trivialize the crushing weight of the disease which impacts their bodies.  Yet, in the midst of the crushing weight of their disease, there remains one thing the enemy of their soul did not count on - faith!  He banked on the weight to crush even the most fragile faith - but God counted on the crushing to extract that faith - bringing it to the surface for all to behold!  When something is extracted, it is pulled or drawn out to the surface.  There is an effort required - but in the pressure exerted - the bounty is beheld.

I do not know the battles you face today, but I do know with a certainty - God's in the midst of the battle and he is allowing just enough pressure to be exerted which will manifest what is hidden deep within.  The pressure is real - it shall not utterly crush you - but it shall reveal the depth of your faith, the intensity of your love, and the intimacy of your connection with the Creator of all things.  My heart is with you today, dear friends.  As you "bear up" under the crushing forces you walk under today, I am praying for the beauty of his grace to be so evident in your lives.  Just prayin!

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