“In the crushing, In the pressing, You are making new wine.”
(Lyrics to Brooke Ligertwood’s “New Wine”)
Personally, I cringe at the thought of the crushing. Pressing hurts the fruit. So, given the choice, I prefer to avoid the process. Yet, as I ponder the operation of wine production, there is no product without a winepress.
As I researched, I found that all presses apply a controlled pressure to the grape. Although a winemaker desires to draw the most significant amount of juice from the fruit, he is careful not to pulverize the seed in the process. Crushing the seed affects the taste of the wine adversely.
I’m comforted to know that every press has a limit. The Vintner carefully protects the core of my life from destruction despite my feeling otherwise. I wonder if Apostle Paul had this in mind when he wrote: “Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option” (2 Corinthians 4:8 The Passion).
As uncomfortable as the pressing sounds, that’s not even the most challenging part for me. It’s the state of waiting that must follow. After juice is extracted from crushed fruit, it matures in a dark cask. A quality product cannot be hurried to maturity. It must age. The fruit that once needed active energy sources is now reduced to a resting state. Storage in a dark, cool space is the only way to produce quality wine.
How often have we found ourselves waiting in darkness after a crushing? “I can’t hear from God. I feel that He has abandoned me.” I’ve experienced it often.
Yet Kingdom principles rarely deviate from the slow process of maturity. The cask follows the crush. Impatiently, I want to whine, “Are we there yet?” while my Father responds: “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:3-4 The Message).
Although I still don’t like the casking, I find comfort in knowing this is a normal part of the process. God hasn’t abandoned me but given my wine of faith a place to develop. Let me say that again: Faith is the Father’s precious vintage. We just hadn’t realized that “Faith grows best in the dark” (Andrew Murray – 1888).
My third lesson from the vine concerns the storage process. Used wineskins must be discarded in preparation for the latest vintage. The old skin has served its purpose well, so a new skin, in the form of change, is required.
The Gospel of Matthew explains this well. “Who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually, the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything — the wine is spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into a new wineskin so that both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17 The Passion).
Many of us have experienced the pain of the crushing. We may have felt in the dark regarding next steps and cried out for God to speak. Without our realization, the Holy Vintner has been ever present in our darkness. He has been carefully monitoring “the proof of our faith, being more precious (to Him) than gold” (1 Peter 1:7).
Change is coming. We can never use the old wineskins again. Some of us will writhe under the discomfort of change, while others will actually grieve separation from the old skin. But,
In the crushing, in the pressing, He is making new faith.
Where there is new faith
“There is new power
There is new freedom
The Kingdom is here
I lay down my old flames
To carry Your new fire today”