There is a parable that has always confused me. I just flat out didn’t understand it. Initially I thought perhaps it was one of those occasions where Jesus meant “upon hearing they will not understand.” Maybe I was not to know this mystery of God, because I was not worthy. But really that was just insecurity talking. It’s the parable of the wineskin. You can find it in Luke 5, Matthew 19 and Mark 2. Being that it is in three of the four gospels it has to be pretty important, right? But still.
I don’t know much about wine, and we don’t actually use wineskins in the 21st century so I was at a bit of a loss. Until last night.
We were prophesying at my home church (which is actually a literal home church [ being held in a house]) and this man named Joshua laid his hand on my shoulder.
* Side note- If the word prophecy makes you cringe then let me explain. Prophecy isn’t the loopy and weirdo fairy dust exercise it has been made out to be, but instead just the speaking of encouragement to one another in accordance with the scripture and voice of God. It’s about edification and should ALWAYS used with discernment and mutual agreement. If you’ve had some wack-a-doodle nut Christian freak you out about it, I am truly sorry for that. I promise I won’t yell things at you or attempt to tell you your future.
*Back to the story. He laid his hand on my shoulder and started to speak. Keep in mind, he does not know my story, where I have come from or where I am going. “Jesus just wants you to know that He is sorry for all the things that have happened in your past. For all the disappointments, and the ways in which your world came crashing down around you because of Him and people’s reaction to His work in your life. He is sorry that you have had to fight, and lose in battles with your family and friends. He is sorry that you had to walk away from them in order to be in His will, but He needed you to be trained to listen and follow His voice.” (It took roughly .4 seconds for me to start sobbing because if you know anything about my past this is just so dead on target he may as well have been reading me back my diary). “But I feel like God is telling me that it was necessary for you.”
“There is a parable in the Bible about a wineskin. About how no intelligent person puts new wine into an old skin, because it will break. God is telling me that is what you were trying to do. You were trying to take a new reality of your faith and stuff it into your old life and community. So of course, it had to break. It had to be stretched to shreds and everything spill out. It was never made to hold you as a believer. But know that God has you in a new skin now, and that people can see the changes in you. And that they are curious as to how you are so different than you used to be. So trust and thank God for his faithfulness, in breaking you of old things so that He can keep you safe in something new.”
My jaw dropped and my eyes grew wet and wide. I am not sure why I am so surprised by other people and their words of comfort and love. It’s as if I anticipate their flesh and not their Jesus to speak. But that scripture, revealed in that moment meant more to me than any understanding ever could have before that moment. Because it isn’t just about the head knowledge, it is about Spirit and the circumstances and the moment and the mixture of all of these things together that creates a truly perfect pairing. It isn’t about the breaking down of your life, although often you remember the pain more than the healing. The true business of Jesus is in the restoration. Once everything has been laid down and spilled across the altar of faith, God will chose only what is worthy of your new heart to restore in you. For He is not a Father to let you remain confined in your sins.
God has such an impeccable sense of timing. It makes me laugh to think that I could have ever tried to manage life alone.
So if God is wrecking your world a bit, know that it isn’t because He is mean. He doesn’t have a cosmic magnifying glass aimed at your anthill, where He is trying to set you ablaze,you sinner you. More than likely He is trying to eliminate something that is causing you harm, or restricting you, and you don’t understand the damage that it is doing.