As I was realizing it was time to send another devotional, I thought about sharing something I wrote several months ago. It was good. But maybe another time. I feel like I need to share what’s been on my heart this week: jars of clay. Not the band, but the verse:
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it cle
ar that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Cor. 4:7
Have you ever felt like a “fragile clay jar” before? I think sometimes we stop at that part—we feel our weakness, our fragility, and maybe even some emptiness. But the beauty of the Gospel is about the treasure and the power that God tucks away inside our weakness through the Holy Spirit. Every now and then we get to see God at work through us—despite the feeling…or because of the feeling—that we don’t have much to offer. And it’s pretty amazing.
This week I was feeling like a fragile clay jar, but I started praying that if God could use me here, I was up for it. Whatever He wanted to put on my agenda, I was available. But even as I prayed that, I didn’t fully expect God to answer. I mean, if there’s someone in need, it would seem more logical to send someone to help them who is feels strong in faith and in their connection with God. Not someone who is feeling weak and has more questions than answers. But God works differently.
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” – 1 Cor. 1:27-29
On Sunday, I was loading up my kayak afer some time on the lake when an older gentleman walking by greeted me and struck up a conversation. It moved from his discovery and questions about the park to the loss of his wife of 41 years about two years ago. I mostly just listened as he shared his journey of transitioning from living with his best friend to living alone, and trying to figure out how to fill his time and see the world through this completely new lens. He did mention that his faith in God as a Christian was helpful to him, but this journey of healing could only be taken one day at a time.
On Wednesday, I was just leaving work when I saw a young woman who had just parked in our parking lot, standing next to her car, crying. When I asked her if she was ok, she said no, so I stopped to listen to her story, help her find some resources, and pray with her.
I could not set up either of these encounters. I could not prepare for either of these encounters. Only God could arrange for both, but part of that preparation was letting me be in a place of discomfort and feeling my inadequacy so that I could depend on Him and also empathize with those who needed to know someone understood and cared—and especially that God cared enough to put us both at the right place and time to share that moment of grace.
Maybe this prayer of willingness in your weakness is one you are ready to pray. Or maybe it’s a word of encouragement you can share with someone you know who is not feeling up to the task of serving right now. God doesn’t need strong people—He needs open and willing people. That’s all He needs to do His greatest work and let His treasure shine through our fragile clay jars.