And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. (Luke 5:37 NASB)
There's no telling how many times a day I think about oxygen. As a wound doctor, I work every day to get enough oxygen-carrying blood to the affected area to help the wound heal. Oxygen is critical for wound healing. In fact, oxygen is critical for life. Without it, we humans will die.
Oxygen is not, however, critical for wine making. It turns out that the yeast converts the sugars in the grapes to alcohol and carbon dioxide in the absence of oxygen. (You may remember that wine yeast works at the bottom of the vat, where there is no oxygen.). This particular chemical reaction can not be carried out in the presence of oxygen! How wild is that? The one thing we would expect to be absolutely essential (oxygen) is not essential at all when making wine.
I don't know about you, but I have a (generally unstated) list of things that are "essential" for my worship, my spiritual growth, for experiencing God. All are good things and some truly are essential. Oddly enough, however, my list of essentials are not essential for everyone. Some people experience God in a totally different way and need a totally different method of presentation.
The good news is that we serve a God who is personal and knows us intimately. In fact, Psalm 139 says that He knit us together in our mother's womb, He knows everything about us, and His love is inescapable. He knit me; He knit you. He knit our loved ones together. He knows what they need to bring them to repentance. It may not be what we expect or what we would need, but He can custom-tailor His prevenient grace just for them.
Fear not. What you think is essential for transformation may not be what is needed. Today, pray that God will surround our loved ones with the essential, whatever is needed, to bring them to Jesus. Pray, too, that the essential work will not stop until all the work is done.