Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm a very visual person so when my Every Day with Jesus (EDWJ) devotional mentions a Paul Tournier nutcracker analogy I see it quite vividly in my imagination. It is interesting to have the author use this analogy in a devotional this close to Christmas when the first thing that comes to mind is Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite which has become an annual favorite.

But Tournier's analogy brings to mind an Anne Geddes type photo with a person laying inside a nutcracker (although in my minds eye it looked more like a person curled up in a Mexican style metal lime press). With that lovely image securely in your mind, let's get back to the analogy in EDWJ.

This devotional is laid out in a way that covers one topic over a 2 month period. In the 2010 November/December issue Selwyn Hughes is covering the topic of "Soaring above the Storm." On this day, the devotional is entitled 'Coming Alongside.' Tournier, it is said, uses the analogy of the nutcracker to point out the fact that adversities and disasters apply a pressure to our lives that breaks through the hard shell of our personal security. The trick to successfully cracking a nut is to apply just enough pressure to break the shell while ensuring that the tender fleshy nut inside remains whole and undamaged. So it is with coming alongside someone, be it a friend, a family member, a patient, a client or a parishioner. As Hughes says, the real task is to be there in a way that keeps life's pressures or circumstances from destroying someone. We are called to encourage each other daily.

For many, the Holiday Season is one of those times. Let's consider ways that we can come alongside others, making it a 'safe zone' for them to come out of their shells knowing that in the midst of the pressures of life we can grow and gain insight into our lives.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...Therefore we do not lose heart...For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
2 Corinthians 4:8-19


  1. Pressures "break through our personal security." That hits me like a ton of bricks. My personal security is just a thin shell - a veneer - the only real security is to be found in God and surrender to Him. But I cling so hard to my pseudo security - my home, my job, my income, etc. Pressures help keep my focus where it belongs, on the security found in God alone. Thanks, Hellen. I appreciate this insight!

  2. Well said, AB! Tournier's analogy nails it methinks.