I’ve loved walnuts since I was a child. Those beautiful trees grew close to our farmhouse and I remember my brother and I gathering the nuts that fell to the ground and carrying them in to the kitchen. Our mother would ask us to crack the shell to remove the walnut meat inside. Then she would create wonderful recipes through the results of our hard work; coffee cakes, breads, even home-made ice cream.
Recently I failed terribly at something I wanted to do gloriously for the Lord. I prayed and studied that as a substitute teacher, God would be glorified through what I taught! I prayed all week and the Holy Spirit seemed to give me powerful illustrations to connect to that week’s Biblical text. Sadly, life stepped in, I lost my confidence (which rarely happens) and I failed miserably when I tried to convey the spiritual truths God gave me. It was just what Satan wanted. I could almost hear him taunting, whispering in my ear, “Did you really think you could be as good as the regular teacher? She’s amazing!” The devil won that round because I became discouraged.
As I sat dejected, I began to think of those early spiritual leaders in the Bible who also became discouraged: Abraham, Moses, Job, Elijah, Peter, Paul . . . my goodness – did I think I was stronger than they were? Not even close! I began to praise God for my failure, for without it, I might have become complacent and prideful. Those biblical figures didn’t wallow in self-pity but drew themselves up and did what was right for their LORD! No excuses, they confessed their insecurities and lack of faith and went on!
Hebrews 12: 11-13, “ No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
Remember the walnut? It is only after it’s been broken that it can it be useful. To simply remain in its shell would be purposeless. No bountiful recipe could be reaped. Occasionally God must break our human shell so the Holy Spirit can fill us, thus becoming a sweet Christian recipe. I felt useless and needed the meat of the Word to mend my broken spirit.
It’s ironic that walnuts are sometimes called the “King of Nuts.” They are valueable for health in many ways, but two ways are especially useful: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory heart properties and for strengthening bone health.
Yes my sad, heavy heart needed restoring. It wasn’t long before the Word of God with its own anti-inflammatory properties, strengthened me. Asking for forgiveness, He raised me up with His gentle arms setting me on the right path once again. His powerful Words restored and strengthened my weary bones, giving me the determination to learn from my mistakes. I shook my fist in the devil’s face, prayed and searched for the good things this learning experience brought me.
I now praised God for failure! If you are also attempting to overcome obstacles, don’t give up at the first sign of adversity – don’t give the devil a foothold, eating away at your faith. Remember the shell must be broken before the results of goodness can be found!
John 16: 33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”