Mortar and Pestle

I have been looking all over Jerusalem for a mortar and pestle. I found a few but didn’t want lava stone or ceramic. I like this marble edition now setting on my kitchen counter top, just ready for use.

The other day I was grinding down some garlic cloves to make paste to add to butter for cheesy, garlic toast. Yummy! With each turn of the pestle, the garlic changed to a thick liquid, and the scent permeated — not just the kitchen — but the whole apartment. It made me so hungry.

And I was thinking about…

… the process of purification that believers endure. The grinding and pain are relentless for a time. But the scent… to the world… to the Lord… is unparalleled. It should make us hungry for more of God and his kingdom. It should make others hungry for him too.  Then I remembered this verse from Isaiah 28:27-29:

A farmer doesn’t use heavy boards to crush dill;

he doesn’t use a wagon wheel to crush cumin.

He uses a small stick to break open the dill,

and with a stick he opens the cumin.

The grain is ground to make bread.

People do not ruin it by crushing it forever.

The farmer separates the wheat from the chaff with his cart,

but he does not let his horses grind it.

This lesson also comes from the Lord All-Powerful,

who gives wonderful advice, who is very wise.

If I were to continue to crush and bruise the garlic, it would disappear  eventually and become useless. The wise farmer knows how to harvest spices and grain for bread. He treats each one in a special way that it will yield the highest fruit. He knows when to stop.

God does not subject us to trials and tribulations for fun. He is looking for response. He is looking for his own image imprinted in our hearts. And the fruit and fragrance that is produced influences the people around us. But God knows when to stop crushing.

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. ~1 Peter 4:12-13


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