Our Greatest Ministry

Psalm 34:8a

 O taste and see that the Lord is good:

There have been some events in my life that even the very thought of them causes me to crinkle my nose, roll my eyes and a get queasy in my gut. Times in my life that were just not stellar moments either because of something I had done, or something done to me. They’d left a bad taste in my mouth, much like the water that caused the children to murmur against Moses in Exodus 15:23-24:

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

The water was not the only thing that was bitter, so were they. Why had God brought them to this place with a promise of prosperity and then sat them before bitter water? That hardly seemed right. He’d called them His chosen, the favored of Heaven, should not they be drinking bottled water from the finest of springs? I just realized that I blogged this passage two days ago, so obviously God has a message in it for us, what is it about that bitter water?

I spent yesterday at a ladies retreat in Lexington, VA in hopes of reviving my soul. I wanted to drink from sweet fountain of Christ and be encouraged, and at days end I was, but throughout the day my heart was broken for the three guest speakers. Each had a brokenness that surpassed anything I could imagine. Yes, I’ve had my days of marah, but they paled in comparison to the loss of a family to sin, the loss of a marriage to abuse, the loss of a child to death. Inside my head I kept hearing myself say “Stop the murmuring Shari, you’re ridiculous, you’ve got nothing compared to them!”

There were several notable quotes throughout the day, I’m sure someday I’ll make them mine and totally take credit for the genius, but I can’t take credit, nor give credit for the one I’m about to write because I didn’t take down who spoke, it was said in passing and it stuck in my mind like gum to the bottom of a summer shoe.

“Our greatest ministry comes out of our greatest hurt.”

Is that deep or what? Not only deep but true. All three of the women from the retreat were not murmuring, but rahter using the bitter waters that they’d had to drink to pour sweetness into the soul of other hurting women. Other women who had stood before the same bitter waters.

I thought about what brought me to this place in my life, where I feel entitled to call myself the Jesus Chick and blog my thoughts thinking them worthy of encouraging people. “Who am I, Lord?” I’ve not got any great tragedy (thank you Jesus), what do I possibly have to give someone? I have a few bad tastes in my mouth, but not real bitterness… But then I hear “you’ve tasted my graciousness.”

1 Peter 2:3-5

If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

I’m not the one found strong enough to face the tragedies  and stand before the bitter waters these women of yesterday faced, although I’m fully aware that day may come, I have no clue what tomorrow holds.  But God clearly said to me, “Everyone’s life has heartache and sorrow… so has yours. But you’ve always chosen to drink the bitter water and call Me gracious for the mercy I’ve shown you.”

This morning I’m so humbled to be a part of that spiritual house in Heaven and the holy priesthood on earth. I hope you understand that regardless of where you are or who you are in life, you are special in the site of God and worthy through His blood that was shed for you.

To “taste” is to experience. Savor the blessings of life and share that goodness with everyone you meet.

“Our greatest ministry comes out of our greatest hurt.”