Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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In the fall I really got exercise in our yard. We had lots of trees in that yard, and lots of leaves. Our sons were gone, and I got to do just about all the raking. There was this one corner of the yard that was kind of nice to rake because it smelled nice. I'd be raking away and suddenly I'd smell the strong aroma of spearmint. Now, I don't chew gum and I don't wear spearmint scented deodorant usually. So, it had to be coming from what I was raking - and it was! That was my wife's herb garden, and when some of the spearmint plants got bruised by my rake that spearmint scent started to fill the air. My wife told me that's the way it is with lots of herbs, like with lemon balm, for example. If you take a little piece of that plant and you crush it between your fingers, the air will suddenly be sweetened by this scent of lemon. So I learned, crushing a plant releases its scent.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Crushed Beauty."
In 2 Corinthians 2, where we get our word for today from the Word of God, the Apostle Paul has just told about hardships he has suffered, great pressure he was under, even the despair he'd been feeling. In the context of a lot of pain and pressure, he says in 2 Corinthians 2:14, "But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him." You see, God wants to spread to the people around you the experience of the beautiful aroma of what it's like to have God in your life. How does He release that scent? Oh, hardships and pressure.
The scent of Jesus in Paul's life was probably never more beautiful than when it came to what he called his thorn in the flesh - some physical limitation that he begged God over and over to remove. He called it a messenger from Satan to torment him. That's in 2 Corinthians 12. Then he comes to terms in that passage with the fact that this pain is not going away. Then he discovers the unexpected, glorious result that can be released through his crushing. 2 Corinthians 12:9 - "But God said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" When you can't, there's an opportunity for everyone around you to see that God can. Paul goes on, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me."
When people came in contact with the Apostle Paul they smelled power, they smelled grace. But it wasn't Paul's power or grace. People got to experience God's beauty because he had been bruised, and the bruising released the aroma of the love of God. That's what the Lord wants to do through you.
Maybe you've been going through something that has bruised you or crushed you. If you've allowed yourself to become bitter, angry, or self-focused because of it there'll be a smell coming from you - probably like the smell that comes from what my wife used to call stink weed on the farm, and no one is going to want to be around you. They'll conclude that Christ doesn't make much of a difference in the times when we really need the difference made. But you've probably met, as I have, some precious men and women who have been deeply wounded, totally crushed, and they've surrendered all that pain to the Savior and they are a joy to be around. They're like walking hope. The aroma of God is all over them.
Never do we have a greater opportunity to show the people around us the reality of our Savior than when we are in a time of great hurt. Maybe like you're in right now. If it's one of those times for you, would you open yourself up to a divine take-over of your feelings, your pain and your personality? You'll find that something very supernatural, something very beautiful will happen. The crushing you've experienced will release the incomparable aroma of the grace, and the love, and the peace of Almighty God.
The Creator who releases beauty through a bruised, crushed plant, can surely do it through one of us - his blood-bought children.