2 Cor 4:7 - 9
2 Cor 4:7 – 14 (NIV)
“7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”b With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.”
Bad stuff happens to all of us. Some self afflicted. Some through no fault of your own. Some because you are satan’s enemy because you are in Christ! Others still, “well, stuff just happens!” Most others because people close to you do bad things…………….
Nineteen years on, going to twenty, that I have Followed after Jesus Christ, my Good Shepherd, I still find myself thinking and believing that I’m no good to Him because of the many cracks and gaping holes in my life. Mess up is something I do one time too many! Failure and defeat seem at times like my middle name. All around me and in my life are men and women who have been saved by grace yet take the earliest opportunity to deny me grace. Sadly, I do the same thing to others! God’s Children are constantly in this hot pursuit of “self righteousness” for their selves and demand it of others because somehow we are convinced that God’s Offer of His Son Jesus as a perfect substitute is a deal too good to be true, eeeeiiiish!
This morning, thanks be to Jesus, I read a Facebook update from Joyce Meyer that helped bring peace and calmness into my heart: “God knows the mess we’re in when He calls us. His light shines greater through cracked pots than through perfect ones!” Lori West says: “Have you ever felt trapped by the circumstances of life? Are you wondering how you can ever move ahead and get out from under the dark cloud of depression? YOU, have a choice to make every day. YOU, can allow Jesus’ love to shine through your broken body, your jar of clay. Or YOU can take matters into your own hands, dwell on the cracks in your jar, feel sorry for yourself, and allow all the joy to run out of the cracks, leaving you an empty, broken vessel. We cannot spend our life bemoaning yesterday’s shattered dreams or waiting for tomorrow’s “major move of God”; we have to value what God has given us (however cracked a pot they may be); value what we have and are today. Don’t allow unbelief, ignorance, fear and other of life’s obstacles to hinder your progress, or render you useless, or destroy what God is doing in your life. BUT, take what God has placed in your hands, (BROKEN, UGLY OR WHOLE), and make something good from it. Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional, says author and speaker Barbara Johnston.
Joy isn’t found in having friends, mates, parents or a spouse who loves us; it isn’t found in being strong and healthy, or in having a picture-perfect body. Nor is it found in being an academic success or climbing the corporate ladder. Joy and contentment are not found in possessing a beautiful home or vehicle. If these were the conduits of joy, I’d have missed out.
True joy comes when you know whose you are, when you believe in what you’re doing, and when you learn to accept who you are: a jar of clay, and accept that other’s are too! It comes in being willing to use what you are to hold life’s greatest treasure, and allowing the treasure to shine through your life. True peace comes when we learn to see Jesus living not only in jars polished and whole, but also in our cracked jars – when we can see Christ in a jar battling cancer or depression, or in a jar that’s wearied and tarnished by seemingly never ending conflicts in life.
How confident are you in your God? Can you trust your life into His care? There may be times when you feel your life and faith are under siege. The situation seems hopeless. Let me remind you: Faith is easy when you’re up on the mountain and you’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known. Things change when you’re down in the valley. But don’t lose faith – you’re never alone. For the God of the mountain is still God in the valley, and the God of the day is still God in the night.
Let me reassure you from the pages of Scripture, that Christ laid aside the glories of Heaven. He became a Man of sorrows and today makes His home in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. There are times when we pray for a miracle, yearn for answers and NOW solutions, but circumstances may not change; things may not work out the way we want them to. The cost may be tremendous, but God has promised that His grace is sufficient.
Here’s the last word: When days are dark and you are discouraged and perhaps you feel isolated and helpless for the task at hand. With God by your side, pick up the shattered dreams, disappointments, discouragement, the broken promises, and give them to Jesus. Mourn your losses but don’t wallow in the valley of indecision and defeat; retrace your steps to where you left the Lord; live your life as a monument to the living God. He is more than adequate to meet our needs and gives hope for a hopeless situation.
May God help us all to finish well the life He’s called us to – broken jars of clay are all God Needs!