When it’s ajar. har har!
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed.
Today I feel like a bit of a broken jar of clay. And a jar when broken doesn’t seem all that useful, does it? Like something you toss out. Like something you find in a box in your storage unit and your husband says, do we really need this?
For those of you following along at home, my husband is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He is currently without call, which to the rest of the world means he is looking for a job. While we wait, he works long, hard hours in retail and coaching soccer, and I work part-time in music and we make do as best we can. He applies randomly to anything and everything that seems remotely suited to his skills and God-given calling, and a little bit like shooting arrows into the woods at night without any technological assistance, we wait and see if anything sticks.
Of course it’s less haphazard than that, and God is working when and where we do not see any hint of Him working. But at times, it can be so hard to believe it. It is especially difficult after another round of “no” – another hopeful light at the end of the tunnel, only to be met with a shut door and a turn around to where we began.
The work is to believe. It’s always the work we are called to do. Help our unbelief. Our help must come from Thee.
Our jars have been broken a long time, God. You know this. You know the path Rob’s life took, the twists and turns that led him right here. You know his heart. You know he longs to be teaching your people and sharing the good news with any who will hear it. You know he is a gifted teacher, a communicator with a passion for storytelling and a knack for getting inside people’s souls. You know these things because you GAVE him these things. Your Spirit nurtures these things in him and You speak through him when he is given the opportunity to preach. And he feels Your pleasure in it.
God, we are broken. We know this. We know it all too well. We know our failings. We face them every day as we try to face the consequences and redirect the paths that have gone astray because of our sins. We fight daily to do our part in redeeming the time. We daily, hourly need remember that only You can restore and renew.
We know we are broken. But we also know You do not hold our sin to our account. We know that You remove our sins from us at the hour we repent and believe in Your provision to fulfill ALL our debts, to ransom us completely, to cover all our grievances past, present AND future, for all time. And we know that You rain on the just and unjust alike. We know that You allow all things for a reason and for Your ultimate glory. We know You may have us in this season for a time. We know You are not punishing us, You are not punitive, You are not whittling us down but building us up. We know that when it feels that way, we are resisting You and not acknowledging our sinfulness and stubborn pride. We know that our brokenness keeps us from truly seeing ourselves clearly and truly submitting ALL our ways to You. Help us to see clearly. Help us to remember You are good and will provide. You have already provided for our greatest, most crucial need for all eternity, what would You withhold from us?
We are broken, dear Maker. But we know You are the Fixer. We know we will not stay broken forever. We know You long to pour Yourself into us, shattered pieces that we are, and shine radiantly out from us, through all our cracks and scars, through all our weakest points, through the thinnest areas where this life has worn us down, through the places our veneer has been damaged and in our least presentable condition. We know You still use these jars. We know You have not tossed us aside. We know You do not give up on those who earnestly seek You. We seek You, o dear Giver of all, how we do seek You. How we yearn to be useful to You, that Your “grace extends to more and more people” so that “it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God!”
So we do not lose heart. Help us, Lord, to keep heart.
– passages from 2 Cor. 4