Jars of Clay
For the past ten weeks I have been attending a Bible study led by Joanne Ellison from Drawing Near to God ministries. The following thought process was inspired from a recent lesson. This isn’t a light & fluffy post. I hope it touches each of your hearts, because none of us are without suffering through loss and heartache in this life.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. II Corinthians 4:7-9
Why do bad things happen to good people? What about all the loss, suffering, and tragedy that seem to be the norm for so many? Why why why, we constantly ask. And how are we suppose to continue to live in the midst of all the despair that tragedy can so easily bring.
We wonder why God has forgotten us, why He has not answered our prayers in the way we want them answered. But what if, there were ten times, a hundred times, more worse stuff that could happen to us, that never does because God does intervene. I could be completely wrong here. I really have no idea why He allows the bad stuff to happen. But consider this…
As Christians, we are (or should be) like jars of clay, molded and sculpted by Him to be who He wants us to be. And in our innermost being….that is where He, God, dwells in us. We are now the tabernacle, the tent of the Old, which houses not only His presence but His light.
And to be the jar that shines His light, we need cracks to fully showcase that light. For, unless there are cracks in a closed jar, the light only shines dimly. Perhaps that is why God allows some of those bad things happen to us…
For if you are a fully formed jar of clay, the best way to see the flame deep inside you is through cracks in your hardened exterior. But the only way to get those cracks is to be broken, going through difficult and trying times. Because when we are broken, that is when His light shines the brightest through us.
My husband’s brother committed suicide 2 years ago. At first, the loss seemed insurmountable. There are moments, it still does. But I believe that the only reason we are moving through, moving past, is from the presence of God in our lives. Not that we haven’t been mad and angry with Him. Not that we haven’t wanted to wash our hands of Him. But it’s His peace that brings us sleep on a restless night, His grace that prompts uplifting words from strangers – in the moment they are needed most, and it’s His abounding love that encourages us to ask the hard questions and finally settle on believing through faith, not through understanding.
His light that shines through us from this brokenness hopefully encourages others who go through tragedy themselves. It shines bright so that hurting people can find the hope that is desperately needed to continue to live with joy, happiness, and excitement for all life brings.
Its not easy, after going through tragedy, to look forward to what tomorrow brings. Trust me, I know that wholeheartedly. But its an encouragement to look at others who have spent plenty of time in the trenches but still find joy in the future.