But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Jars of Clay
Have you ever read God’s Word to find it didn’t speak to you in any way in particular? I have often read the bible as if it was a calming story that gave me comfort. However, when I read these specific verses, it was like sitting in a math class ( I am not a math person), and the equation on the board finally made perfect sense.
I have to say 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10 speaks to my heart in a way not many other verses do. I am not saying it is more significant than others, for every verse is incredibly valuable. However, when I read these verses the first time, it was like my heart started to thump in my chest.
How quickly things can change
I was at a dinner with friends when they teased me for believing in Jesus and the bible. It was all in fun and not meant to hurt. Unfortunately, something in the air changed, and the attack began. No longer were we enjoying a great meal, the onslaught of how “my God” was vicious and mean. Their comments were if any God would turn someone into a pillar of salt (the story of Sodom and Gomorrah) for not “obeying,” he was not a God he wanted to know.
No one likes the idea of being mocked for what you believe. Being laughed at can be one of the most humiliating experiences. As a new believer, I could not defend or explain my belief in Jesus and the Bible. It wasn’t the lack of desire to do so; it was where I was at in my walk.
Well, to say I was stunned into silence is an understatement. I was heartbroken these people I called friends would rage at me over something they clearly did not understand. The thing that made me want to sob was knowing their hearts were so hard toward God, and their ears would not hear anything I were to say.
Drawing closer to Jesus
I found myself thinking and rethinking that conversation for a very long time. It made me think of how Jesus must have felt as he traveled, sharing his amazing truths. How many people did he share the Good News to have it fall on deaf ears? How that must of devastated him.
At first, when I think of the brutality he endured on the cross for us, to cover our sins with his blood, I want to cry. But then, by chance, I read 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10, and the light bulb went off. It says we will be afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, but it also says we would not be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed.
It also says this treasure in jars of clay shows that the power belongs to God. It helps us relate more to our God and brings us closer together. Friends, the jars of clay are our bodies, and the treasure it holds is the Holy Spirit, Jesus in us. Nothing can crush, drive us to despair, forsake or destroy us because we have that treasure in us to guide us.
I know the life of Jesus is seen through my responses to the affliction and persecution Christians often face. It allows us to feel a fraction of what Jesus must have felt when he shared the good news, only to be mocked or turned away. For me, it is a way for others to see Jesus through my actions. I feel a closeness to Jesus because I know he dealt with the same injustices that I do.
Turning hurts into joy
As I have grown in my walk with Jesus, my deepest desire is to be obedient to God’s calling for me. I have learned over the years not to focus on the hurts that are waiting around every corner. But to expect Jesus to be there with me and show me how I can use this body, he gave me to express care and love to those who use words and actions to hurt others. My friends, not everyone will be open to what I, or maybe you, will share, but that is ok. We need to share, plant the seed and let God do the rest. With great joy, I can say I focus more on using the Spirit in me to share love and happiness. I know Jesus will do the rest.
Heavenly Father, I pray people to see you acting through me to show and share your love, peace, and strength.