October 6, 2009

This Jar of Clay?

Last February (2009) I was in Chisnau, Moldova. Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe nestled between Romania and Ukraine. It's geographical area I've heard described as the size of New Jersey. The people of Moldova speak Moldovan which is actually Romanian. For many years they were governed by the powerful government of the Cold War era, the USSR. Now they are independent, still communist-ruled and are struggling to find their identity between the powers of the European Union to their west and the wealthier former Russian states to the east. Moldova has few resources. It's only exported good is wine produced in its exceptional vineyards. But their most abundant resource is clay. If you happen to visit Moldova and plan to pick up a souvenir, there is a good chance it will be made of clay. Who doesn't love a folksy art piece from a far away place? The problem with the clay objects, with pictures of village scenes scratched into them, is that the vast majority of them are not put in a kiln. They haven't been fired and they are fragile. Let's just say baggage handlers in airports give Moldovan pottery many opportunities for the red clay souvenir to turn back to dirt.

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. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)  
This a is verse God gave me a few weeks ago when I was reading a book that referenced it. I began to memorize and meditate on it over this past week. I have come to realize I have a treasure, the precious of gift of life in Jesus Christ and it's in me-- a jar of clay. What an awesome treasure given by the Father!

In my spirit, I hear  the whisper "Here, Dea take notice of the Holy Spirit, let Him dwell in you to the fullness of who He is, be filled, and let that Presence be reflected in your life. Know the great Treasure in your jar."

An honest question to a God who I believe loves questions:
"This jar of clay?"

"Because... Lord, I feel that if anything were to come against me I might crumble. I find myself feeling hard pressed on every side, but the truth is I am not crushed. In fact, I can breathe in the depths of understanding that You Are and I find peace for my soul."

"And Lord, I am often perplexed and without understanding in this world that seems so idol crazed and evil. How often do I ask you why? Yet, I am not despairing. I put my trust in You for you have never forsaken those who seek you."

"Thank you, Lord, that I do not know persecution, not like my Christian brothers and sisters in other places in the world. Am I living in a way that does not threaten those who would persecute me for your name's sake? Am I taking up the cross and following you daily?"

Yes, Lord, I know what it means to be struck down. But I am not destroyed. Praise God it is to your glory!"

"This jar of clay?"

In the still small Voice, I hear "Yes, you are the jar of clay I have chosen."

So God chose to put His treasure in my jar of clay. I've been focusing on the jar but I missed the point of the Scripture. It is more about the treasure than the jar. I am no longer worried about being crushed and destroyed and turning "back into dirt."

I kept asking God a question with a very simple answer. God can use any "jar of clay" because it's not the strength of the jar that matters, it is the Treasure that is in the jar that shows off the power of God. The journey may get bumpy and I may feel the pressures of life on the road, but this jar has enough power to make the trip all the way to the final destination.

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