Thursday, January 28, 2016

When the Wine Runs Short

As a marriage counselor, it’s special to have the first reflection of this blog about a wedding story - Wedding at Cana (John 2: 1-12). Marriage is packed with beauty, mystery, and the meaning of our human hearts and God’s relationship with all of us.

When I heard this beloved story about Jesus' first miracle a couple weeks ago, the theme that particular stood out for me was emptiness. Think about the bride and groom and their families during the reception. They had prepared for this day for quite some time with great anticipation. Near the end of the night, they were watching the wine "run short" before the party was over. Captain Jack Sparrow would say, "Why is the wine always gone?" On a more serious note, I thought about what they were feeling and thinking. I believe they felt embarrassed, overwhelmed, weak, and hopeless…

When have you felt like you’ve lost hope, life, taste in your life? When have you felt exhausted? When have you felt embarrassed that you weren’t who others expected you to be or that you expected yourself to be?

This reflection opened up a new connection I had with this story. I heard it in a possibly new and different way than I had before. I had always focused on the plentiful blessings of marriage, but never focused on the wine shortage. After the family exclaimed the lack of wine, Mary knew who to go to. She went right to her Son with a heart full of urgent faith. Jesus said, “how does your concern affect me?" I believe Jesus doesn’t ask us that question because he is disconnected and has better things to do. It’s rather the opposite. He never forces himself upon us. If we want to do something on our own, He gives us room to try. He asks this question hoping to receive an invitation to help, to heal, to be a savior for us.

“What does this have to do with me?” “Jesus, you are my Lord and my God. Nothing is impossible for you. My (insert hope, life, taste, etc. here) is running dry and I want and need you in my life.” It was then that Jesus took WATER! And turned it into WINE!

My old youth minister Sarah Bauer has a great song about this that’s called “Extraordinary.”
Take my ordinary, like water into wine. Create extraordinary. Transform this life of me. These gifts are yours; use them for your glory. Take me, make me extraordinary.

A another quote recently stood out to me that "God may allow us to hit rock bottom so we can recognize that He is our rock." If the family at the Wedding at Cana never ran out of wine, they would not have the grace to witness Jesus’ first miracle! Water changed into wine in front of their eyes!

As a therapist I have both felt and witnessed this lack of “wine.” Building a practice requires a lot of faith and trust as my work load each week depends on how many clients walk in the door. It’s been a miraculous feeling to watch my schedule fill up with clients after telling God I was ‘running out of wine.’ I’ve seen clients come in the door for the first session and say something similar. They don’t know where else to turn or what to do next. Sometimes just saying that out loud to someone who can really listen invites God to come in and turn your water into wine and make your ordinary extraordinary!

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