Improvement under Pressure

UImage of the blue fountain pen with silver cap that was made more useful by subjecting it to pressure.I have always enjoyed the physical act of writing. Since childhood I have particularly enjoyed writing with a fountain pen. Good fountain pens are pretty expensive, but I love the feel of the ink smoothly flowing on the paper. I own two of them right now, and use them to write my morning prayers. One has a blue barrel and silver cap and is filled with blue-black ink. I use that one for my letter to God. The other has a gold barrel and cap and is filled with black ink. That one I use for His letter to me. The blue pen was a gift from my children, so it has sentimental value to me.

The blue pen never worked consistently well. It skipped and often felt dry as I wrote. I tried cleaning it. That made it worse.  I actually talked to the Lord about that pen. I asked Him to help me figure out how to get it adjusted so that it would glide across the paper without effort as I express my love and gratitude and the desires of my heart to Him. I could not find a pen shop nearby where there might be a pen guru to work magic on it. I was reluctant to send it off to the repair facility and wait weeks to get it back and hope it was adjusted just right. I considered just setting it aside and getting a new pen, but between the cost and the sentimental value, I didn’t. I just kept limping along wishing it worked better.

Last week it occurred to me to look online for information. I discovered a number of websites with fountain pen tuning instructions. After spending an hour searching and reading, I found exactly what I needed and decided to try it. I chose a straightforward method, but I was concerned about ruining the nib. The directions were to press down hard on the paper – hard enough to bend the nib slightly. But how was I to know how hard was hard enough? I got up the courage and did it. It worked!

As I was writing my prayer yesterday morning, the ink flowing freely and beautifully as my gratitude and thoughts tumbled out onto the page, I realized that in a certain way, I am like my fountain pen.  As a tool in the hand of the Lord, I have worked better at some times than others.  At times His love flows freely through me to those around me, helping them to turn to Him and feel His love. At other times – not so much. I suppose there were occasions when He might have even had to use a different servant to get His work done, during times of self-absorption and spiritual deafness.

Rather than discard me, He worked with me and molded me into a more valiant and profitable servant by subjecting me to pressure that I found uncomfortable – even painful at times.  I yielded under that pressure, and learned new behaviors and attitudes. Now I am a much better conduit for His love. Does my pen have feelings? If it does, perhaps it feels as I do when I contemplate the work done by the hand of my Master: grateful and joyous at the improvement!

  • Has the Lord used uncomfortable situations to mold you and improve your usefulness to Him?
  • In what ways have you changed under that pressure?
  • Write about your feelings as you think about this.

 

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