1. To press between opposing bodies so as to break or injure.
2. To break, pound, or grind (stone or ore, for example) into small fragments or powder.
3. To put down; subdue: crushed the rebellion.
4. To overwhelm or oppress severely: spirits that had been crushed by rejection and failure.
5. To crumple or rumple: crushed the freshly ironed shirt.
6. To hug, especially with great force.
7. To press upon, shove, or crowd.
"We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead." I Corinthians 1:8b-9
Life has seasons of crushing. Those times when we don't know how to make it...in fact, we realize that we cannot make it in our limited human strength. I find that when that crushing happens and the tears are falling and the spirit of desperation begins to strangle, there appear 2 paths stretching before me. One pulls me to give up, to give in, to do the easy thing, to do what the flesh wants. The other path urges me to stay in the crushing as grapes into wine...to come to the end of self and the end of flesh.
Oh the pain of the crushing! It makes the flesh rise to the surface and want to run...anywhere except under the grinding, cracking pressure.
Paul said that being crushed caused him to learn not to rely on himself, but on God. And isn't that where we WANT to be? We want to rely on God fully, and yet to get there...to truly rely on Him in action and not just word...we have to walk through the valley of crushing.
I most identify with definition #4 above: "to overwhelm or oppress severely: spirits that had been crushed by rejection and failure." I wish I could say that I handle the crushing as gracefully as Paul did, but the truth is that I hate being crushed. I cringe under rejection. I deflate under failure. With all my flesh, I desire to run the opposite direction, to escape the crushing teeth of the grind.
And yet surrendering means accepting even the crushing because my God is able to raise the dead. He will exalt the humble. He will make all things work together for my good.
Do I trust Him enough to stay under the crushing pressure until He Himself lifts me out from under it?