By Vincent & Deborah Aquilino, Co-Directors of The Prayer and Healing Rooms of Greater Syracuse
It was a hot afternoon. The searing sun beat down on an already scorched earth. The waves of heat reached upward toward the heavens, pleading for water. The desert was dry and barren, but hidden beneath the sun baked surface were seeds, waiting to be transformed. The outer covering of the seeds were like the desert
itself — dry, hardened, seemingly lifeless; but inside, they were full of life-giving potential.
The next day, the heavens opened, and the rain came down. It began to soak into the dry, hardened ground and, slowly, the seeds softened as they absorbed the life-giving water. The transformation began. In time, the seeds burst forth into a panoramic array of colors and shapes, transforming the barren wasteland.
Some of the seeds became large trees which gave shade and respite to the weary travelers that passed by during the day, but the smaller trees were cut down and used to make fires which warmed the travelers at night. The smallest of the trees, observing the fate of its companions, began to question the meaning of life; had it been raised up only to be burned in the fire? Was this all the meaning the tree’s life would have? It yearned to have more purpose, to make a difference. It spread out its branches and leaves as far as it could, thankful it was no longer a dry, hardened seed — but it yearned for something more.
Then one day the little tree was cut down, hauled away and put in a pile to dry. The scorching sun once again beat down and brought dryness to the wood. Through long, hot days and cold evenings, the little tree waited to learn its fate. Despair set in, as its hopes for greater purpose began to fade. It once again became dry and hardened.
Sounds could be heard coming from a nearby carpenter’s shop. The master carpenter came out and took the piece of dry wood into his hands and examined it. The wood appeared lifeless, yet he knew that locked within was the energy of the sun, ready to be released by fire that would bring the blessing of warmth during the cold desert evenings. The wood waited in anticipation. Was the dreaded fire still to be its destiny?
The master carpenter carefully measured and examined the wood. It was such a fine piece. Could it be used for something more than just to bring forth heat? His hands glided across its surface. He could feel the rough spots that needed to be made smooth, the high spots which needed to be laid low, and the hardened knots that would resist as he applied the tools of his trade to transform the wood.
The carpenter did not see just dead wood. How could this particular piece best be used? Would it be part of a plow that could be used to break up the hard earth so more life-giving seeds could be planted? Would it be a chair that would hold and carry the burdens of weary passengers as they sojourned down the road of life? Would it be a table that would present a bountiful feast to those who would come and partake as they journeyed? Would it be a goblet crafted to hold life-giving water and satisfy many a thirst?
The master carpenter evaluated the raw stock in his hand and then, with a vision only his eyes could see, determined its life-giving potential. He began to fashion this rough, raw stock into a finely-crafted goblet. In every detail, the loving care of its maker could be seen. It was as if the goblet reflected the character and personality of the craftsman himself.
The goblet was completed, and it was soon purchased by the keeper of a local inn, where it settled into its new life’s work. In that inn, the goblet discovered many other beautiful works created by the master carpenter. They became close friends. The goblet was thrilled to be of use and poured itself into fulfilling its destiny. It was wonderful to be able to bring relief and comfort to the thirsty, weary travelers that somehow found their way to this place along the highway. It was exhilarating to have meaning and purpose. It was a joy to be a blessing to so many.
Then one day an angry traveler threw the goblet into the fire. The goblet was terrified. Although the innkeeper quickly retrieved it, one side of its finely-chiseled exterior was badly charred. It turned to the carpenter’s other works for sympathy and help, but all they offered was ridicule. The handsome goblet, once full of life-giving water, was no longer perfect. And now, in a time of need, its friends had rejected it. It was deeply wounded.
At first, there was just disbelief that such a thing could have happened, but it did not take long before the disbelief turned into feelings of rejection and betrayal, causing the wounds to fester. Joy was no longer the goblet’s life-expression and because of its wounding, the goblet could no longer be a blessing. The sense of fulfillment quickly turned to despair. The goblet’s purpose, given by its creator, had been destroyed. The goblet became obsessed with telling everyone how hurt it was and what an awful thing its friends had done. The life-giving waters became bitter, and the bitterness infected everyone that the goblet came in contact with.
The goblet began to withdraw from life. All it could think about was the betrayal and the wounding. The bitterness turned to anger and then to hatred. Its joy had been stolen through the thoughtless act of an angry traveler, and so the goblet became tormented with thoughts of vengeance.
The goblet was miserable for a long time, but then one day it started to yearn for the way things once were. A life of bitterness and isolation was no life at all. It tried to forget the hurt and wounding but was helpless to overcome the negative thoughts that tormented it. It could not figure out how to get rid of these feelings. Then one evening, the goblet recognized its creator, sitting at a table eating supper with his companions. In pain, shame, and disgrace, it cried out to its creator–and because of the carpenter’s great love for his creation, he willingly answered:
“Your well has been poisoned by bitterness and unforgiveness, but if you will forgive your tormenters, I will heal your wounds, recreate you and restore you to a greater purpose. Because you have turned toward me, I will again fill you with live-giving waters.”
The goblet was obedient to the creator and was suddenly able to forgive its friends. The carpenter took the goblet to his shop, chiseled away the charred portion, reshaped it, and etched it with exquisite carvings. Its time of torment and despair was over.
The master carpenter was so pleased with how the goblet turned out that he kept it as his own. The goblet became the master’s favorite vessel. The master packed the goblet into a sack and used it everywhere he went. The goblet no longer had to fear the fire, because it was safe in the master’s hand.
In due time, the goblet was placed before the master at a banquet table in an upper room. He was thoroughly cleansed and prepared for this very special supper. At one point during the meal, the master raised the goblet, and when he had given thanks, passed it to his companions, and they all drank from it. The master declared that the goblet contained his own precious blood, the blood of a new covenant, which was to be shed for many for the remission of sin.
The goblet had become the third cup in the Passover supper, the cup of redemption that represented the forgiveness of sin for all mankind. Its final destiny was fulfilled. It had become a blessing to all who partook of the living waters.
And its joy was exceedingly great.
The Bible instructs us to prepare the way and to take the stumbling block out of the way of God’s people (Isaiah 57:14). There can be no bigger stumbling block to receiving healing than unforgiveness caused by rejection and betrayal–but we must forgive from our heart, so He can forgive us and restore us to the position He has ordained from before the foundation of the earth.
“And someone will say to him, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’” (Zec 13:6)
Jesus was also wounded in the house of his friends and yet, when He hung from the cross in pain, shame and disgrace, he said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Can we, who are his vessels, do any less?
There can be no greater stumbling block to receiving healing than unforgiveness caused by rejection and betrayal — but we must forgive, so He can forgive us. At the Prayer and Healing Rooms of Greater Syracuse, we encounter many wounded vessels in need of a touch from the Master. No matter what the stumbling blocks are to healing or unanswered prayer, as we agree and seek the Lord’s presence, we see a loving Jesus meet needs, as well as touch and heal people from physical, emotional and spiritual problems.
Are you ready to forgive from your heart and be recreated and restored by the Master?
He commanded it. Forgive!
The Prayer and Healing Rooms of Greater Syracuse are open Thursdays from 3-8 PM in historic Victorian Square, 526 Old Liverpool Road, Building #2, Suite #7, Liverpool, NY 13088. For additional information, please call (315) 395-9674 or visit the web site at http://healingsyracuse.com. For a Healing Room near you, visit www.healingrooms.com.