In order to be most fruitful, a process is required.⠀
Believe it or not, one of my favorite pastimes is watching home improvement shows on HGTV. Some may find that odd. But I’m fascinated by watching things go from really really bad, to really really good, really really fast.
Watching these shows taught me a little truth about myself.
I like seeing the new upgraded home, while skipping the weeks of work required to make it happen.
Let me say it another way…
I like seeing the result, while skipping the process…
But then I get confused when my job doesn’t work that way.
… when my life doesn’t work that way.
… when my marriage doesn’t work that way.
Maybe you can relate.
The more I’ve observed, the more I’ve seen that we don’t serve a God of instant gratification. We serve a God of process. Think about it: He created a caterpillar to become a butterfly. He designed an acorn to become a mighty tree. And He designed a baby to form in a mother’s womb.
We see God’s process in the Bible too.
A few months ago, I toured Israel with Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries. On our first day, Lysa showed us the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prepared to be crushed and broken. Where He prepared to go through the most grueling process in order to achieve the greatest victory.
We find Jesus here in Matthew 26:36, “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
It was in this place that Jesus wrestled with what was to come. In the midst of this moment, He said to his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
Jesus was about to go through a process that would enable him to become the light of the world. As He sat there in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was accompanied by these olive trees.
Olive trees that God placed there before the beginning of time.
Olive trees that showed what needed to happen for Jesus to become the light of the world.
Olive trees that show what we need to go through to become most effective.
The same olive trees that shaded me in this garden two thousand years later. I believe these olive trees have a purpose. And they can teach us something about the process of life.
Before an olive can be used as a source of light, it must first turn to oil — its most valuable form. And in order to turn an olive into oil, a process is required.
THE OLIVE HAS TO ENDURE
As the olive tree grows, it has to endure. It needs both the harsh desert winds and refreshing Mediterranean winds to produce its fruit.
The olive has to endure — and so do we. To produce that which is most valuable, we too need times of refreshing and times of enduring. The times of refreshing allow us to regain strength while the times of enduring make us stronger for the battles to come.
I know your current season may be hard. But this season of endurance is not a setback, it’s a setup for your season of strength.
THE OLIVE HAS TO BE PREPARED
Once the olive tree is fruitful, the olives must be prepared if they’re going to be useful. Without preparation, olives are bitter and inedible. So the olives are picked, soaked, salted, re-soaked, and crushed.
The olive has to be prepared — and so do we. Just because you’ve grown doesn’t mean you are excused from the preparation process required. It’s through this process that we become who we need to be for what God has in store for us.
Don’t despise the season of preparation. Understand that the things God loves, He hides until their appointed time. This is the season where God works more on who you’re becoming than what you’re doing right now.
THE OLIVE HAS TO BE TRANSFORMED
Once the olive is crushed, it produces oil. It’s only in its oil state that an olive can be preserved and ultimately last. As oil, an olive that was once bitter and inedible is now used for fuel in lamps to create light.
We too will go through times of crushing. But those times will transform us into our most effective form. Like the olive, God doesn’t use the crushing seasons to harm you. He uses them to preserve you.
I believe we are all required to go through the process of the olive. This process will bring both refreshing and harsh times, but both are very necessary.⠀
Never despise the crushing times. In order for us to be most effective, process is required. It’s in the crushing that perseverance and perspective are formed. It’s in that process that we remember where we place our reliance.⠀
As I sat in the Garden of Gethsemane, I was overwhelmed. I was taken by the thought of Jesus sitting here under an olive tree, knowing this was a pathway of escape, knowing He could run and never be found… but still choosing to stay. He remained even though He was about to endure the most difficult pain of His life.⠀⠀
Despite His sorrow, Jesus chose to persevere, to be crushed and broken, so that He could be transformed into His most valuable form: Light (John 8:12).⠀
So often I’ve wanted to have result of the oil without the process of the olive.⠀
But the crushing times aren’t only inevitable, they’re required.⠀
To become the Light for us to follow, Jesus went through crushing times. So for us to exude that same light, we too must go through the crushing of the olive.