The Furnace and Tears -

The need for tears in finding the New Wine and becoming a New Wineskin


Your heartfelt tears day in and out, your tribulation and your groaning are all signs that truly you have been thrown into the furnace. Our tears are the visible sign that what is in our hearts is finally being exposed. Our tears reflect that we have lost what we treasure.


First, you need to know that before we ever shed a tear, God loves us as we are. He is close to us.

"For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." (Isaiah 57:15)

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)


Next, you need to understand that tears are a gift from God to accomplish His purpose. You are not alone in your tears and travail. David wrote, "I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears." (Psalm 6:6) Are you in the place yet? Have you cried until there are no more tears left, only the painful heaving of a broken heart?


I want you to know, that you are so close to the Kingdom of Heaven. God is collecting your tears. They are not wasted. God has a collection bottle, a wineskin with your name on it. This is the only place, you can ask for a new wineskin, when you have tears that God will collect. Every tear you shed, He collects. He records in His book, your travail and your brokenness. "You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?" (Psalm 56:8, NASB) No one can steal this precious time from you, it is recorded in the annals of heaven. He sees your brokenness and He loves you in it.


Why tears? Why this painful process? Why does God take the time to collect each tear? God considers your tears to be of great value. He takes them and stores them in heaven and then He transforms them into something of great value – new wine. "He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” " (Luke 5:36-39)


Making wine is a fairly simple process. Grapes are harvested and then they are crushed. The juice from the crushing is collected and stored in a wineskin, a container. The wineskin in then stored away, hidden away for a season. When the wineskin returns, the grape juice is now a treasure. It is wine. It is a delight.


My oldest son recently spent several days working in a local winery and explained the process of making wine to me. One of his assignments was "crushing" or tending huge vats of crushed grapes. As the crushed fruit ferments, a hard layer forms at the top. Every three hours or so, this layer must be broken. This process continues round the clock, day and night, over time. If too hard of a layer forms at the top of the fermenting wine, it becomes useless. The wine must be carefully tended until the process is complete, and it is ready to be poured out into bottles. Once bottled, the wine sits for awhile, until it has aged to perfection. The more valuable the wine, the longer it must wait.


If you are at all like me, you can find it very difficult to endure long times of waiting! But take heart. You are valuable to the Lord, and He has destined you for and is preparing you for great things! He is breaking through in our lives and tending us so that we can have a place of usefulness, service, and joy in His Kingdom on earth. He will sustain you during times of prolonged waiting.


Everyone wants wine. When we drink the wine, we feel good. Wine has an intoxicating effect. It can be powerful. The wine of the Holy Spirit when flowing can change atmospheres.


The Scripture says that if we have tasted the “old wine”, the aged wine we like it. We say that the aged wine “is better”. The Scripture says no one wants the new after experiencing the old. Why?


The new wine is the grape juice. It is our tears, the fruit that comes from our crushing. To get the new wine, means we must be crushed, we must hurt, we must ache, we must cry. We must let God collect our tears and trust that not one of them will be lost.


So we cry and we cry and we cry until there are no more tears left. Go ahead and cry. God is close to your broken heart. He won’t let your tears be shed for nothing.


After the weeping, comes the stillness, the waiting. What happens to your tears now? Why such a long wait? Join hearts with the Psalmist, “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. How long must your servant wait? " (Psalm 119:81-84)


God collected your tears in His bottle, in His wineskin. Now the next ingredient for new wine, is waiting in the fire, in the smoke. You may feel lost and forgotten, but God has placed you and your tears in a special place, because new wine is being made for a thirsty world. God intends on using your crushing to bring hope and healing to a lost, broken, and dying world. "He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." (Psalm 126:6)


My first lesson in the furnace was that this was the road to become new wine. This was God’s plan and purpose for my life. God was in control.


My prayer became this: Lord, be close to me in my tears. Let me weep as you weep, let me cry as you cry. Please don’t let me run away from the plans you have for me. Transform my tears into something wonderful.


Ingrid Hansen