Broken Jars of Clay

I have never been so aware of my own weakness, brokenness, and need for the Gospel than I have lately. It is nothing I need encouragement about-the answer is to understand my weakness is to see Christ at the Cross in His fullness and surrender myself to it.  As I deepen my relationship with the Lord, I am more aware of my daily need for Him.  Through God’s grace, I have grown immensely but there is still room for sanctification.    I can catch my mind spiraling sooner and speak truth to it; I can talk myself through logic and hope.  I can find the joy and blessings quicker.  I can look through the lens of an eternal perspective where I truly feel the Lord’s presence, sovereignty, and nothing shakes me because my hope is set on something that will not fade.  I have found freedom in areas that I never thought were possible.

But there are weak days when I overthink, feel deeply, fight fear, and desire control.  I remember that I have no back-up plans when life may force me to make big decisions.  I worry about what may or may not happen in a year and how I will navigate big changes beyond my control or how I will pay my bills each month. I work through understanding that someone else’s good does not mean bad for me.  I grieve expectations I had for my life and mourn the broken dreams.  I believe in answered prayers and a God that shows up for other but struggle to see how He will in my life.  I extend grace to others freely but still expect perfection from myself.

I have mostly good days; days that I will tell my story of God’s rescue until I have no more words.  Nonetheless, hard days come every once in a while and I feel frail.

Sometimes the feeling of weakness, frailty, and brokenness does not leave as soon as I would like.  In what I know to be true of the Gospel it is a beautiful place for weakness and brokenness to rest.  In most cases, weakness doesn’t feel beautiful; it feels the complete opposite.  It doesn’t feel attractive to walk with a limp, crawl across the finish line exhausted, or not have control over how emotional and psychological health can impact the physical.

I can’t change my health.
I can’t change my core fears.
I can’t change my marital status.
I can’t change the amount in my bank account.
I can’t change that my capacity is not what it once was.
I can’t change how my brain is wired to process things.
I can’t change that I don’t have a backup plan for my next step.
I can’t change that the Lord is asking me to wait in so many areas.

Cultivate is such a simple word; it means to acquire or develop a quality, sentiment, or skill. That word has been replaying in my mind over and over these past few months asI have cultivated new routines, pursued community, learned what a new normal is after a diagnosis, and focused on what the Lord is teaching me.  What can be cultivated in weakness?  The answer is simple; it is either pride or humility.  Pride is easy to cultivate; unfortunately, it comes naturally to me.  Humbling myself to the Lord’s sovereign plan has been one of the harder things I have ever done because, in my mind, I want to tell Him what is best.  I want the power.

In 2 Corinthians 4, we are reminded that we are “afflicted in every, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus is that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

Honestly, that is be an encouragement on the hard days because when we refer back to Isaiah 53 where we are reminded that Christ has taken it to the Cross already.   Our worst-case scenario is that the Lord’s unconditional love fails and His stops extending garce, and that won’t ever happen. But I have found myself forgetting to lead that section of Scripture with verse 7, “but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”

As much as we like to believe sometimes, the power has never belonged to us; it has always and will forever belong to the Lord.  When we get that wrong?  We panic and search for a sense of control: make back up plans, start new diets or exercise routines, create budgets, go shopping, watch Netflix; we do anything that may numb the fear and anxiety for a moment.  It numbs the truth that God is working in His great power in the waiting. No matter the day; good or bad, we are broken vessels that the Lord chooses to use to glorify His greater story of redemption.

I can’t change my health but I know that He is the ultimate healer.
I can’t change my core fears but I believe that He will never abandon or reject me.  I can trust that in Him I will not fail or be unwanted.
I can’t change my marital status but I can trust that I am where I am because of Godly decisions I have made.
I can’t change the amount in my bank account but I can trust He will provide all of my needs even when I don’t see how.
I can’t change that my capacity is not what it once was but I can trust the He will provide strength for the task at hand.
I can’t change how my brain is wired to process things but I can surrender it to the One that created it.
I can’t change that I don’t have a back-up plan for my next step but I can see that He has already gone before me.
I can’t change that the Lord is asking me to wait in so many areas but I focus on how He is redeeming my heart during the wait and how His plans are better than my dreams.

I pray that your season is one of answered prayers.  It is a time that things are secure and your bank account is comfortable.  Your health is stable and you know what your next step may be.  But maybe you are in a season of waiting and you have no plan.  Finances are tight and healing isn’t coming as quickly as you hoped.  The next step is unclear and overwhelming and fear is speaking louder than the truth.

But the only thing, on the good days and the bad, the season of drought or the seasons of fruit, we always have the hope that God our Father is on the throne.  The only thing we need the capacity for is to be able to limp towards the cross over and over and over again; holding our broken jars of clay and offering it back to the One who holds the power. We have to know and believe that He will redeem it someday and is still working when we don’t see the fruit of our faithfulness.  Our broken jars of clay are being glued back together as long as we take it daily back to the Cross.  He is and always will be immeasurably more, in the good days and the bad days, in trhe seasons of planting and the seasons of growth.

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