Friday, March 14, 2008

Jars of Clay

By Bethany Lashbrook

This Week's Verse: Ecclesiastes 7:4, "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." (NIV)

I’ve been having a real tough time lately. I am struggling with the typical day-to-day activities that every mother has faced at one point in time or another. My newly acquired job is not going exactly as I had planned. I seem to be losing my motherly qualities at home in regards to my children and my overall duties. I find that this winter weather is nauseating and need some sunshine in my life as well as in the weather.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that that 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." (bold mine)

Why do I think that if Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me, then I will not suffer for Him? What I suffer is nothing compared to his ultimate suffering, his ultimate sacrifice. My daily activities are nothing compared to His. I am not exempt from this way of life. I chose this walk, for the good and for the not so good. The Lord knows what he is doing. He has chosen this specific walk for me, whether or not I understand it.

So, I will learn to take this walk one day at a time. I will remember that God has chosen this walk specifically for me. I may not quite understand it, but someday I will. I will look back on these times and think “you were right Lord, you had me right where I was needed – THANK YOU”. I will continue on being a jar of clay for now – hard pressed on every side but not crushed. And, from now on, I will try to remember that God only puts on my shoulders what I can carry.

Lord, thank you so much for your gentle, kind ways. Lord, help me to lean on you on days that I feel I just can’t take it anymore. Help me to remember Lord that you sent your one and only son to die for me. If this means that I too must suffer, then I will gladly share in His sufferings. Lord, guide and direct me in all that you do. Amen.

Identify a time in your life when you have been a “jar of clay”. Afterwards, did you thank the Lord for all that he has helped you go through or did you burrow in your sorrow?

Are you having a wonderful time in your life right now? Remember to praise Him for it, because your next step on your journey might cause you to fall. The Lord will hold you up, even if it feels like you are sinking.

Remember that God has chosen YOU, his special child to follow Him. Never did He say that it would be an easy task. The road is long, windy, and full of different paths. We, as His children will sometimes take the wrong path. We, as His children will sometimes be on a path and think “how did I get here?" We, as His children will sometimes ask Him to carry us on a path because it is too rocky for us to be on. Whatever the path, whatever the journey, remember – IT IS CHOSEN FROM GOD.

Power Verses:
Isaiah 53:5, "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities: the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed." (NIV)
Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." (NIV)
Jeremiah 17:14, "Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed: Save me and I will be saved; for you are the one I praise." (NIV)


Kathy said...

Bethany, you've hit the nail on the head as far as how so many of us are feeling. This was an awesome reminder of "rejoicing through our suffering" and knowing that we'll be better for it--because that's what God promises us. Thanks so much. I feel recalibrated or like someone hit my "reset" switch! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me of free will. This is the life I choose so that one day I will rejoice with Him, without pain, sorrow, or any of this earthly stuff bringing me down. So that one day, we will soar on eagles wings!

Kelly said...

Oh the super mom syndrome, don't we all suffer from that one? I can truly say I have had that one, even now with not working. I wonder if I am truly being the mom they need. I know God is there through the hard times, I struggle with not knowing the plan since he never chooses to tell me in advance. I agree Bethany that when it is all finished I am always glad I didn't know the plan. His plans are always better than mine. I have decided that being a super mom is way to hard to achieve. Besides if I were a perfect mother to my children how in the world would they ever live up. I believe mistakes are my best teachers. I am proudly super imperfect mom by choice. Anyone want to join me? Hee Hee

Anonymous said...

Bethany, I am so proud of you! An awesome devotion! And it pertains not just to "moms" but empty-nesters like me, too!