Thursday, April 12, 2007

Treasure in Jars of Clay


Sometimes the most simple truths of God, the ones we've heard in Sunday School since we were old enough to pay attention to the lessons, suddenly become REAL to us adults. I knew that God was all-powerful, that He raised Jesus from the dead, and that when we ask Jesus to live in our hearts, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our nasty old human bodies. These things, individually, I grasped well enough. However, when you combine all of these elementary thoughts there is suddenly something very astounding to me: God's power, the power that conquered death, is alive in us. We may not always feel it, but we know it's there and it is ALWAYS sufficient.

So, where did this (probably not so huge to most of you) revelation come from...that is the sweet part! Don't you love when you're sitting in a church fille with people, and suddenly you know that this part, THIS part of the sermon is meant especially for you. What an exciting feeling! It was Easter, I was still shaking in the choir loft after my menial (but nonetheless terrifying) solo, and Brother Jimmy got up to preach. I'll be honest and say that I was having one of those, "I sure am hungry, I wish he'd wrap this one up 'cause I'm not sure what he's so excited about..." Sundays, when God tapped me on the shoulder, "Pay attention please, this one's for you!" I finally heard Brother Jimmy, because he asked us to turn to 2 Corinthians 4--which was the chapter I had just reached on my Paul adventures. I went from ready to go home, to boo-hooing on the front row of the choir in front of the whole church, and praying that he would keep on preaching, in about 30 seconds. (BTW, if any of you have mastered the art of crying inconspicuously I wish you would let me know. Do you remain still and hope that nobody notices the double streams billowing down the front of your face? Do you do a quick wipe and hope that you can get your hand up and down before anybody notices? Or do you do the shoulder shrug and hope that your mascara doesn't end up all over your clothes as well as your face?)

If you've been reading, you know I have really been learning about trusting in the sovereignty of God. It has not been a fun lesson to learn, and along with the learning has come several hardships...right in a row. What has been amazing to me, is that while there are certainly moments when I feel scared or alone, these moments are so fleeting. On the whole, my life is still filled with peace and even joy. "How can that be?" I've wondered. Should I feel guilty that my life is still happy, even when Mom is taking chemo and everything seems so off-tilt? (It's hard not to love that Pace and I get Mom and Dad all to ourselves for lunch once a week!) I found my answer in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. I'll type it out at the end, but the basic gist (at least for me) is this: The reason that we can have joy in trials, is that we are filled with a power big enough to conquer death. Even though we may not feel powerful, the simple truth is that the power IS there, living in our humble "jars of clay", allowing us to not only survive when we are "hard pressed on every side", but to even find joy.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

1 comment:

Darby Stickler said...

Abby,

I've been waiting for your Easter post and it was well worth the wait! Thanks for your transparency, what a blessing it has been to me! The girls and I were listening to "Morgan's music" yesterday and your blog entry came to mind when "What a Mighty God we Serve" came on. We serve a mighty God who gives us peace and joy in times of trials, how awesome! Otherwise what an absolute ball of hopeless mess we would be. These trials you are going through are "faith food" and it's really cool to see how God is using them in your life! Thanks for sharing all you do on your blog! Y'all looked beautiful on Easter and I love it that Jeremiah and Pace are making the exact same face! :) As for the crying in church/public, I haven't mastered that one either but if I do I'll fill you in! Love you, D