“My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.” (Psalm 119:82-83 ESV)
Many times, the waiting seems longer than we’d want it to be. Or I should say, the waiting is always longer than we’d want it to be. In our culture, we aren’t very good at waiting. We want everything fast if not instant. We have instant cooking pots, we have fast-food drive throughs. We’ve become accustomed to quickly gaining what we are after. How do we respond when God has us go through a “waiting” season? When we feel like we’ve been in a holding pattern for quite some time. We begin to feel like wineskin in the smoke.
In ancient times, wineskins were the wine-bottles of the time. Traditionally, wineskins would be hung over smoke of fire in order to gradually mellow the wine through a moderate warmth that would eventually bring the wine to its optimal state. The psalmist is giving us the same illustration as he is in the “waiting”. When we go through circumstances in our life that seem unfair, that seem impossible to overcome, that seem to really put us under the fire we can turn our eyes to the promises of God. Much like wineskin over smoke of fire, our afflictions, our struggles, our challenges are exposed over the fire that is continually refining and mellowing our character, bringing us to our optimal state – like the wine.
“…yet I have not forgotten your statutes”. As we hold on to our faith in the Father while we go through different seasons of life that seem to last longer than we’d hope, we are allowing the smoke over the fire to do the work God is trying to do in us. When we refuse to let go of the promises of God while we are being refined – the wineskin hanging over the smoke of fire – the process is sure to produce its intended purpose.
As we go through this trying season of uncertainty, in the waiting, allow the smoke over the fire to do the work. Take this time to reconnect with your family. Spend that extra time with your children. Watch that movie you’ve been wanting to watch with your spouse. Have the “in-house” date night with your spouse. Read that book you’ve been wanting to read. Set that family game night that you never had time for before. Let the smoke do the work.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that no season is ever wasted. No trial is ever in vain. As I go through this challenging time of learning new ways of using my “extra time”, I pray that I would allow the smoke over the fire to do the work. In Jesus’s name. Amen!