I recently read Joni Eareckson’s book on the mysteries of suffering. 1
Comparing ourselves to clay pots, she stated that if we are meant to display the treasure that God put in each of us, then
“that display often works best when there are faults and cracks and chips in the pot! It is through these that the radiant, resplendent glory of Jesus shines through to the wondering eyes of the world.”
Joni has been a cracked pot for over 50 years, ever since the diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. Reading her quote, I reflected on how she’s an extreme example. But how would the cracked pot comparison apply to all of us? Would it even apply to someone who is strong, vigorous, and healthy?
To check that out, I hunted for Scripture about crackpots.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Here the apostle Paul implies that we would take the credit if we were overpowering and strong. But we are weak. Even the strongest of us gets exhausted if pushed hard enough. And, if we get old enough, it’s guaranteed that even the most strong, vigorous, and healthy of us will begin to show cracks in our own jar of clay!
Many of us have a special love for autonomy and independence. But look at what it says in Isaiah and Jeremiah:
And yet, Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand. (Isaiah 64:8).
But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so, the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to Him. (Jeremiah 18: 4)
Hey, wait a minute. These verses say that I was formed by his hand. And as seemed best to him. So, what does that imply about any complaint I have about how I was made?
Personal example: God gave me a slight frame instead of a mighty frame. As a young man this shaping was not according to the design that I would prefer. So how did I react?
Well, I discovered that my frame allowed me to outrun almost everyone on long distance runs. My attitude was: “I’ll show them! I’ll run them into the ground!” Only years later did I learn to develop a thankful heart to the Lord in my running, to see that God could take pleasure in me as I ran, and to use my influence amongst other runners instead of having a vicious need to run them into the ground.
Joni Eareckson has now reached this point: seeing how bountifully God has used her as she is, she would not trade her life as a quadriplegic for what her life would have been like had she remained able-bodied.
Even though few of us have a disability as extreme as Joni’s, each of us can view our weaknesses in a similar light.
Can you see how even your weakest parts can be used for God’s glory?
1 A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty. https://tinyurl.com/ybknk87m