Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Pounded for a Purpose
Surrender is one of those words you love to hate. On one hand it implies that you give in or give up. You admit defeat, usually by waving a large white flag like they do in the movies. But in real life, in my life, I am coming to love the word surrender. Perhaps because I better understand what it means.
First, you have to know to whom you are surrendering and why…and how the results can be infinitely good. I'm talking about surrendering to God. Laying down my plans, my agendas, and my will. Yeah, that stuff. It can be brutally hard to “give it to God” as they say. Prying away every finger from what you hold tightly is not easy.
Perhaps it’s a dream…you lay down wanting to get married, or have a child, or be in the career you always wanted. Perhaps it’s a bad habit or addiction that you want to get rid of, but it has a vice grip on your life.
I am learning that to surrender is to yield—like when you yield right of way on the road to a truck that is larger than your car so it doesn’t crush you. Knowing to whom you yield makes all the difference. The God I serve, God Almighty, is kind, loving, so much wiser than me. He is good. Knowing that He acts for my ultimate good and His greatest glory helps me to be able to defer to a higher purpose, a bigger plan. Father really does know best. And I can trust Him.
It took me a long time to learn that lesson. I’d often thought that things in my life were being “crushed,”or my hopes dashed because I had done something wrong. I had fallen out of His good graces. Or maybe He wasn’t really “good” after all. Maybe I had misplaced hope and it really was all up to me to make things happen.
But none of that is true.
The truth is sometimes things are crushed for a reason. Take the process of making bread. It all starts with tall stalks of wheat swaying in a field, most likely on the Kansas prairie. Mr. Farmer harvests the wheat and it gets crushed into flour. Surrender. Then Ms. Baker uses the wheat flour to make dough. She pounds it and lets it rise; pounds it and lets it rises again. Another crushing. But pounded for a purpose. She puts it in an excruciatingly hot oven and finally, after a very long journey: transformation. The delightful smell of fresh baked bread fills the room. And the crushed little heads of wheat finally know the purpose for which they were intended, and it is very good! Fresh baked bread, pass it around!
Here’s what Jesus himself said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”(John 6:35)
I am Wheat
I am wheat,
willowy, golden brown stalks
swaying gently in the breeze,
basking in the amber glow of twilight.
because a seed first died --
a small, hard piece of potential
buried in the soil of opportunity
through summer storms and sunshine,
delighting the prairie.
From kernels gathered and crushed,
flour becomes dough,
kneaded with skillful hands,
pounded for a purpose.
and wait to rise and bake,
for timing is essential.
I am a crusty loaf,
carrying the delightful aroma
of fresh baked bread to the world
for the One who said, “I am the bread of life.”
-- Jackie M. Johnson
Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer in Colorado. Her hope-filled and encouraging books include "Power Prayers for Women," "When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty" and "Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times." Jackie also writes the Living Single blog on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk website.