We used to live in wine country (France)–a place where one could buy a great bottle of wine for two euros. I’m not much of a wine drinker, not much at all, so I don’t understand the sacrifice of pouring forth wine. But melted dark chocolate? Maybe.
There’s something amazing about taking that which is precious and pouring it forth. Perhaps that is why I love this poem from Streams in the Desert. It reads:
Measure your life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth.
For love’s strength is found in love’s sacrifice,
And he who suffers has more to give.
(p. 384, Zondervan, 1997)
I used to malign and mourn bits of my past. Like Gollum, I’d almost revel in the “preciousness” of the pain. But, as I grow in my Christian journey, I am realizing what an amazing gift suffering is. I’ve met folks who’ve had “easy” lives (if there ever is such a thing). Their faith tends to be shallow, vacant. God has given me an amazing gift in suffering: the ability to give more.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture illuminates this truth:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
The hope of this verse is that He comforts is in everything, so that we can comfort those going through anything. His comfort is a universal conduit.
So, if you are suffering today, there is hope. The Lord will take that suffering, and if you are willing, make you one who suffers alongside another. May it be that we take the precious in our life (God’s comfort) and pour it forth, spilling into the lives of others.