God’s thoughts to me
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then He told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. (John 2:6-9a, NLT)
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. (Isaiah 42:3a, NIV)
The Wedding of the Bended Reeds
Yes, I am back at weddings and I will forever be hooked on romance, love and the great sacrifices our Heavenly Bridegroom and Lover of our souls has made to win our hearts and affection. When I started to write this post, I realized that you guys might just wonder what FM/CFS, weddings, weak bended reeds and Cana have in common. When our Lord started to reveal to me precious truths about how these four apparently unrelated subjects were in fact closely intertwined, my heart rejoiced and I would love to share that with you.
The way our Pappa uses ordinary, everyday happenings and simple objects to explain to us truths about the glory of His Kingdom is such a beautiful testimony to His humbleness and wisdom. I think He realizes how much we need comparisons to things we understand to grasp truths about His World. I had one big problem though, I thought our dear Pappa preferred big, noisy, flashy, entertaining programs and religious events. I was deceived to say the least! FM/CFS disabled me to such a degree that I was unable to perform according to my expectations to earn our Lord’s love and acceptance. I became so depressed that our Pappa had to teach me the same lesson He taught Elijah, “And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper ” (1 Kings 19:12, NLT)
I think as fibromites we can all see ourselves to some degree as weak, bended reeds. Cana means a place of reeds and there, dear ones, is the connection between the four subjects. Those of us who suffer from FM/CFS are a colony of bended reeds; a Cana colony! Our Lord has promised us that He never ever breaks a bended read. Actually He nurses their hearts back to health. Our gentle, compassionate God seems to have a great fondness for unimportant people and places!
The village of Cana is only mentioned twice in the Gospels: at the wedding and the healing of the officer’s son. Cana was not an important town in those days. Biblical scholars today do not exactly know where Cana was situated in ancient times.They think it was probably 8-9 km north of Nazareth. I know we often experience those days when we are in the on-the-couch or in-the-bed mode. Those times leaves me so despondent, feeling worthless and of little, if any use to God, my family or friends. When I succumb to those feelings, I open the door of my heart wide to those three nasty creepy crawlies: guilt, shame and condemnation. They try their utmost best to conquer my soul and snuff out my spiritual strength. Nasty little fellows, but what formiddable foes! Consequently a great, fierce battle usually erupts between them and myself. To beat them off, is not an easy fight. Sometimes they win, sometimes I do, but one thing is for sure, they always return, sooner or later!
Thinking of the village of Cana and its unimportance to the economic, political and religious systems of the days of our Lord’s sojourn on earth, brings joy to my heart. To our Lord, Cana was so important that He attended a wedding at the Place of Reeds. In those days Jewish weddings were quite a grand affair and steeped in tradition. It was a community affair where everyone gathered together to celebrate the 7-day feast. These were poor folk. Nevertheless, when it was time for a wedding they tried their best to provide an extravagant feast and to make it a very special occasion. If something went wrong, the bride and groom could easily lose face and it was also seen as bad luck for the married couple. They considered that quite humiliating. Yes, we humans are all the same!
At this specific wedding they encountered a big problem. Their wine supply ran out, but they had a very special Guest of honor in their midst, our generous, loving Lord Jesus. When I was at the crossroads of my FM/CFS journey, I had to admit to myself and my Lord that I was completely empty too; spiritually, emotionally and physically . I had no reserves left to give or to do to try to impress our Pappa and I desperately needed to learn to look up to our God to provide in all my needs. Oh, and He did, abundantly so! The only thing that seemed odd at the time, was that our Lord’s list of my needs differed greatly from mine. Significant to this wedding were the six stone jars.They were used for the Jewish ceremonial cleansing ritual. According to the Jews the number six symbolizes incompleteness.
When I was deep, deep down in the proverbial pit, angry at God and severely depressed, I truly was a very big number six! I am convinced that many of you know exactly what I am talking about. Take heart, dear ones, for I think we all need to come to to that unwanted number six place before we are even able to consider that we might not have what it takes to just live an ordinary, healthy life; never mind coping daily with a chronic illness. Has anyone perhaps noticed along the way that we humans tend to be quite stubborn with a humongous big, over-inflated estimation of our own capabilities? I wonder why! Our Heavenly Father certainly is not surprised for He says, ” For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. (Isaiah 49:4a, NLT)
My stone jars of futile efforts and good works were completely empty after my valiant efforts to battle this illness on my own terms. I felt so completely lost and so alone. I had no other choice, but to turn to the only perfect One, the only number seven; the Jewish number for perfection and completeness. My emptiness poignantly reflected the barrenness and futility of the Jewish purification rituals and ceremonies. All the Jewish traditions and ceremonies are such a good example of the incompleteness of the number six. Actually it shows the incompleteness of all religions , no matter what it is called. Our Lord did not come to bring us the new religion of Christianity, but to reconcile us to our God and to restore the intimate relationship that was lost in Eden when man decided to live independently from his Creator!
All my striving to please our Pappa actually separated me from Him and prevented me to drink FREELY from the abundant, wonderful Fountain of Life. I urgently needed to humble myself before our Father and King and He showed me how totally ineffective and even dangerous any form of law observance could be. Allow me to add that I did not only have ten, like our Lord’s Ten Commanments which we cannot keep in any case , I had ten times ten times ten. Fortunately fibro fog made me quickly forget most of them! Paul did warn us that it was either grace or law. It can never be both. I needed to become lowly and unimportant like the servants at the wedding before our Lord could fill the empty stone jars of my heart with the best wine ever, His Life. His wine was not diluted with water like the wine the Jews used at weddings. I have come to experience that law and grace never mixes like diluted wine.
The new wine of the finest quality was kept for last. The Blood of our Lord Jesus spilled for us on the cross and His abundant Life will never run dry and it is always pure. No mixture of water and wine will be served at the wedding banquet of our Lord and His Bride, the church.
Dear ones, I want encourage you to bring all those crippling emotions, all the pain and terrible symptoms of this illness to our Lord as your gift to Him. Ask Him and allow Him to fill you every second of every day, moment by moment with the pure new wine of His life, His grace and His love.
Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of sharing with you my love for our Lord and King, Jesus. May He carry each one of us this week like a little lamb on His shoulders on this road of Fibromyalgia.
Hugs and blessings