Crack Below the Surface
2 Corinthians 4:1-9, 16 (NIV)
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 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. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Cracks in jars or pots can make a difference and make things beautiful. There’s a story about two such jars or pots. The story begins with a servant, or water bearer, carrying the two pots. One pot is cracked. By the time the servant gets to his destination, the pot is half full and the pot is sad and ashamed because the water is lost. The servant says to the pot, “Obviously you haven’t been paying attention. Let’s take a walk.” They walk the path. The servant says to the pot, “Notice below and see the flowers.” The pot is like, “Okay.” The servant says, “The flowers are on your side of the path. I planted the seeds knowing that each day we walked the path you would water the seeds. Now they have grown into beautiful flowers making the path beautiful and a joy to walk down.” Nice story, don’t you think?
In reality, we’re all cracked and flawed. We try to hide our cracks because we’re embarrassed by them. Mistakes are made because we’re human. I know when I was a kid I’d do whatever I needed to do to keep from getting in trouble. I knew I’d be punished, but more than dreading the punishment, I dreaded the embarrassment of my parents seeing what I’d done. So, I’d lie, try to fix, or cover up the act making things worse. My parents always found out.
I wrote a short story entitled, Kids are Dirty Rotten Liars. It’s true. I have three kids and I know. Anyone who has kids knows. They will lie till they fall over to keep from getting in trouble. My oldest daughter would say, “Mom, I know in my heart I’m telling the truth.” Yeah, right. That was always my first clue she wasn’t. Now my middle daughter was a pro. You really needed to pay attention when she was telling a lie or you’d never catch her. My youngest witnessed what happened to her sisters, but that didn’t completely stop her from lying. But when she did, I’d say, “Are you lying?” She’s day, “Yep!” So we all do it. Covering those cracks—covering those flaws—is an inherent thing.
My granddaughter, Haylie, is so much like her mother. She simply can’t stand to get in trouble or have you angry or upset with her. When I scold her, she cries and says, “Mawmaw, sorry.” And it’s truly pitiful. But I know she knows that and believes it will lessen the penalty.
She loves to color—on anything. Mostly things she’s not supposed to color on. Like her highchair tray.
See, she’s contemplating—coloring book or tray—tray or coloring book.
And when she makes the ultimate decision to actually commit the wrong-doing she’s like,
“Oh man, I’m so busted!”
Life takes us in all sorts of directions. We need God and His Word to get us through those embarrassing times and the times we do wrong. God’s Word isn’t about how good we are, but how good God is. We would be lost if we tried to build our life or the Church on our own goodness.
God can use our brokenness—our cracks—for good. Don’t put a period where God puts a comma. We shouldn’t be driven to despair due to our cracks because God is with us in the midst of it all. Despair is the enemy not the issue. God is in the home renovation business and can fix or use any crack. Paul tells us not to lose heart. We have God’s grace. God will raise us up daily. He brings hope and healing.
So, what are your cracks? How do you deal with them? What advice can you give to others who might be struggling with their cracks below the surface?
And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!
One last thing…Pray.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey that started in the Gulf of Mexico and went up through Corpus Christi and pounded on Houston and then traveled on into Louisiana. My prayers are with those who have lost so much. I’m encouraged by how folks have come together in love to help one another. The scripture from this blog speaks to how God will never abandon us. No matter the trial.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.