For me life always makes sense when I think about food!
I’ve recently learnt about the process of refining maple syrup. Maple trees are tapped with buckets hung under the taps; out of the trees drips a sap, which is thin and clear, like water. On a good day, 50 trees will yield 40 gallons of sap, but the sap is essentially useless at this point with only a hint of sweetness.
As the buckets fill they are emptied into large bins that sit over an open fire. The sap is brought to a slow boil and, as it boils, its water content is reduced and its sugars are concentrated. Hours later, it has developed a rich flavour and golden-brown colour. This then is strained several times to remove impurities before being reheated, bottled, and graded for quality.
In the end, those 40 gallons of sap are reduced to one gallon of pure, delicious maple syrup. Resulting in a 97% scalable loss, comes the quality. 50 trees, one day, 40 gallons, resulting in only I gallon of finished sweet goodness. It seems so illogical.
So it is when we come to faith in Christ. We start like raw, unfinished sap, which could be misunderstood as worthless. But God knows what He wants and will yet make of us.
He seeks us and He finds us. He prays for us and He loves us and is transforming us into something precious, unique and useful.
The long and often painful refining process in our lives brings forth a pure, genuine disciple easily distinguished from cheap imitations. This is sanctification; this is what Jesus prays to His Father for … that you and I might be sanctified in the truth. He does not pray that our lives will be easy or that we will be removed from the difficulties that come our way, He prays that we will be kept safe in this world; protected from the evil one.
So how about it. If at the end of life 97% has been lost to us……reduced, tried, purified. Just imagine how good the 3% will be!!