“We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that this immeasurable power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 TPT
The struggle is real! As a child, i just wanted to make my parents and teachers proud. I wanted to be known and celebrated for something, anything, as long as it was positive. So I tried to run faster, study harder, be as obedient as possible (though if my mum’s spanking was a measure of my success with obedience I guess I didn’t fare so well in this area thanks for my ever fast retorts) 🤣🤣🤣.
Soon enough it becomes culture. The race to the best. More lessons to earn the extra 10%, more practice to master the skills. What a joy when I make the top scores. I don’t have to be first. It doesn’t have to be gold. Silver or bronze are quite acceptable, thank you. But clay? Never!! Not even in my worse nightmare. Like seriously, not up for consideration. I can certainly do way better than that. And so life becomes like an an Instagram page. 100s of selfies taken to capture that one perfect shot, or at least passable shot. The right angle that complements my facial structure, where my smile is just right, enough teeth to be a full smile but not too much to show my “rabbit” dentition.
With each orbit around the sun though, Solomon’s words ring true in my mind- vanity of all vanities, all is vanity. A continual chase for perfect is quite an empty pursuit in itself, and tiring too if I may add. So I pause and ponder. I think about the stories that have impacted my life the most. My favourite character in the Bible- David. My favourite book- The Psalms. What is it about them that speaks to my spirit. The joyful exuberance with which David praised such that his loin cloth almost fell off. He wasn’t moved by his status or his stature. He was moved that he had brought the Ark of God home where it belonged. He didn’t even dance like this when he killed the giant- his all-time golden trophy. That made his IG page too. A pinned post for sure. And as I scrolled through I saw. This same King would let lust lead him to murder and before the story ends be so heartbroken that he would cry out in repentance. The page on Psalms resonates deep praise and even deeper anguish, both lined with an echo that stays true at all times – grace. He dared to question God sometimes. Yell out in his anguish and be human. The chapters tell the story of victories won. They also speak of times of doubt and uncertainties. The “not so perfect” smile made perfect in its humanness.
Another story – the carpenter’s son who knew He had a choice. He could speak and angels would take him home yet at the garden He prayed, “not my will but yours be done”. It wasn’t a brave prayer. At least I don’t think so from the way the story was told. I recall reading about tears, tears so thick they dropped like blood from His brows. Could it be that he was unsure? Uncertain? Hesitant for a moment? Why did this picture make the Creators page as well? What happened to “picture-perfect selfies”only? Did the memo not get delivered? Those are not tears of joy….. I read it, it said anguish.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV
A treasure in earthen vessels. On the canvas of our ordinary lives, He weaves a beautiful story of love, grace and mercy. The picture is perfect not because of the vessel but because of what it carries. And Clay is not transparent. This treasure shines through the “broken” pieces. “….the resurrection life of Jesus revealed through our humanity”. That is the story our lives tell. One of grace so free, of peace beyond understanding, pressured but not crushed, confused but not giving up, persecuted but not abandoned. Like David, I’ll praise with reckless abandon, I’ll groan from deep within. I’ll tell of His goodness at all times because I know that “every detail of my life of love for God is worked into something good” even when it doesn’t look picture perfect to me.