“But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7 (VOICE)
The light that shines from within needs outlets through which to emanate.
Why not welcome God to shine through our brokenness?
The people of Corinth were not so different than we are today.
They had opinions about how a spiritual person should look. So do we.
We shout, “God is good!” in answer to the good news from the doctor or the report that we had hoped to hear. When we or others suffer, we may consider the extent of faith being exercised in the situation. “Maybe we just didn’t believe enough!” The Corinthians assumed much the same. If there are difficulties in one’s life, they must not be living exactly the way God wants them to live. Somehow, they have missed the mark.
“Blessed!” is our answer to the “How are you?” question, most often when things are apparently going well. How often do you hear that answer when someone begins to share the desperation they feel, or the struggles they cannot overcome?
And what do we say to our friends when they encounter the worst of times?
“You are strong! You know how to manage it! Take charge of the situation and show what you’ve got!” Sounds encouraging, doesn’t it?
But what does the Lord say?
How are we to persevere through the trying times? Are we ‘blessed’ only on the mountaintops?
The better question may be this, “How can God best show Himself and His Glory through us?”
Indeed, we are imperfect vessels.
Come on! Let’s go down to the Potter’s House to see what God showed Jeremiah! (Okay, I love this part!)
Jeremiah 18:1-6 (VOICE)
“The word of the Eternal came to Jeremiah.
Eternal One: Go down to the potter’s shop in the city, and wait for My word.
So I went down to the potter’s shop and found him making something on his wheel. And as I watched, the clay vessel in his hands became flawed and unusable. So the potter started again with the same clay. He crushed and squeezed and shaped it into another vessel that was to his liking.
In that moment, I heard again God’s word for His rebellious people.
Eternal One: O people of Israel, can I not do the same to you as this potter has done? You are like clay in My hands—I will mold you as I see fit.”
For those of us who are always looking for where, when, and how God speaks to us, notice the pattern demonstrated here.
First, He gives Jeremiah a directive. (‘Go down to the potter’s shop…wait for My word.’)
Next, Jeremiah does what he hears. (‘So, I went down to the potter’s shop and found…’)
Following this, the revelation God has for Jeremiah comes. (‘IN THAT MOMENT, I heard again…’ )
Listen, Do; Listen, See; Listen. Pretty simple once you get the hang of it!
Now, notice where the clay is. The clay is not moving on its own. It does not crank up the wheel and jump on and begin to shape itself! In fact, if it could, without the potter’s hands on it, it would fly off the wheel in a big blob and just make a mess. We’ve all tried it, right?
(Yes. You were already there, but I just needed to say it! )
Here the clay is safe in the hands of the potter, being shaped and reshaped on the wheel.
Oh, it is good to be in the hands of this potter!
This is what the Good Potter Himself spoke by His Holy Spirit to me on this matter. He first took me to Jeremiah 32 where this same prophet, Jeremiah, bought a piece of land in the face of being taken into captivity. Yes, he bought land on his way to jail! Check it out. (I added emphasis to make points throughout).
“…And just as He had predicted, my cousin Hanamel came to me while I was being held in the court of the guard. He said, “Jeremiah, buy my field in your hometown of Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. It’s your right to buy and redeem it so that it stays in our family.” Then I realized this message was from the Eternal.
So I bought the field in Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin for seven ounces of silver. I signed and sealed the deed in front of witnesses; after weighing out the silver on the scales, I paid Hanamel. Two copies of the deed were made. I took the sealed copy along with the terms and conditions of the purchase and the unsealed copy and handed them to my trusted friend and confidant, Baruch (son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah). I did all of this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all of the people of Judea who were there that day in the court of the guard.
In the presence of all those people, I directed Baruch: “The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and God of Israel, says: ‘Take both the sealed deed and the unsealed deed and place them in a clay jar to preserve them. I want this deed of sale to last for a long time.’ For this is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and the God of Israel, promises: ‘The day will come when My people will buy houses and vineyards and fields again in this land.’”~Jeremiah 32:8-15
I love this guy! Betrayed and on the way to jail, he hears the word of the Lord, acts on it and tells everybody, “Look, this is what God says, and my hope is in His promise!” His future wasn’t looking real good at the time. For the onlookers, he did not appear to have much of a chance. Yet, he spoke what he heard, acted on it, and trusted God. “What a crackpot!” (They must have said it.) Yes. In fact, he was. (I’m singing here. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m YOURS!)
After the Holy Spirit led me through this, He gave me His words to share with you. (Like Jeremiah),
“Whatever you spend your time doing is your investment and with any investment returns will come. Whether for good or for evil, for all or for nothing, hedging your bets is never a sure thing and will only bring destruction. So those who attempt to deceive will be very disappointed in what comes back their way. Destruction and ruins, like sand, the crumbled pieces of lies fall between their fingers. They are distressed – troubled – everywhere they turn, there is destruction! Loss! Prevention of this madness only comes through knowing Me, says the Lord. Know Me and you can have all you ever dreamed of and more! But nothing good comes from man striving against man, against God, against himself; all struggling is an attempt to escape the One True Living God! How can that Be? Cease your struggling. I am cradling you gently in My arms! Relax! There is nothing you can do anyway! Why are you trying so hard? Let me show you a much better way here!
Presume you are a candle. Can you light yourself? How do you shine but by the fire of My love? Can you extinguish yourself? How do you burn except by My timing? Your wick is My making, cutting the lengths exactly as they need to be for the greatest extent of use. Your wax melts just exactly according to my application of heat, and shaping you was My idea! So, see Me this way- All these candles and all these wicks are lighted by My very hand and none other!
I dispose of what I will in the times I have preset, and setting times has always been My job! Doing My will is only within your will because I place it there, so nothing comes except by My will! Nothing occurs that has not been set in motion by me!
All that is, I will.
This is hard to understand, I know! For you think – “Wait a minute! You? But what about the destruction of man? What about the hurting? Are you not a God of compassion?” Of course! I Am All Compassion! And within the compassion of your True Living God resides all perfection of the Universe! In order that all might come to me, there are times of trial and persecution! In order that all might have a chance to meet me, there are pains that no one else can heal! In order that you may know Me well, there will always be these contrasts and comparisons for you to consider! How else can you see My goodness but to see My destruction of evil? Where else do you look but to the sky when your life falls down around you and you are flat on the ground?
So, I am here waiting! Always! I wait to be seen! I wait to be noticed! I wait on you to acknowledge Me! In all things, My plan for you is good, so that when it all turns around, you can say, “It was the Lord who had me all the time! His goodness is beyond my ability to express it! His nature is unending love! His mercies are indeed new every morning and though the night is long, He endures with me through it all! What a good and faithful God!”
This is why. Now do you understand some things?
I have only good outcomes for you, so all will see I am the God of Glory! All your cares are safe in my right hand! So come on to me now and let me show you more of what I am doing! Trust Me to know what is best for you, little child. Your Daddy has seen it all and knows what’s best for your life.
I give and I take away – for you. I allow and I disallow – for your safety. I keep you and all your days close to me for my purposes. I do not discriminate as man does. I count you as important when no one else does! I will love you when no one else will! And you can count on this- My heart never runs on empty! My love can never be depleted. It burns strong and is contagious like fire, so share it! There is enough for everyone! And this is not all! The more you come and sit by my fire, the more warmth you have to share! And the more warmth you share- the more I give you to share, and so it goes on and on. All love, all the time. Nothing else can satisfy Me.”
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and might things, which you do not know.” ~Jeremiah 33:3
Praise God for His words and for His faithfulness! We can place our broken parts in His hands and rest there for Him to do the work. Shaping and reshaping, He is our Good Potter, who creates and sustains us always. Let your light shine through the cracks, so that others might see His goodness.