Jars of Clay
by Bailee Carr
2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
By far the most impactful thing that I have realized in my walk with Christ is that redemption is not an event. It’s a process.
This was meaningful to me because I am someone who always tries my best to succeed - many times to my downfall. My mindset has often been that if I’m not going to achieve my goals, it’s not going to be because I didn’t do enough. I saw it initially with unhealthy levels of stress over grades, trying to perfect each assignment because if I wasn’t going to get an A it wasn’t going to be because I didn’t work hard enough. I’ve seen that more recently with regard to my running. If I didn’t win state this year, it wasn’t going to be because I didn’t run enough mileage. It wasn’t going to be because I wasn’t lifting enough. It wasn’t going to be because I slacked off with stretching. But what it did end up being was because I got a stress fracture. My desire for perfection brought the complete opposite of that.
All this obsession with doing my best has led to a lot of anxiety. I’ve broken down after a test because I thought I failed - and I ended up getting a B+ on it. This past winter when I was going through injury after injury, my mind was going a hundred miles a minute, worrying about the spring. For me this worry led to more worry. I felt that because I was anxious, I wasn’t being the best Christian I could be. I wasn’t trusting God like I should. And I felt like God was disappointed in me because of that. I was mad at myself for not getting over my anxiety and living in the faith I have.
God wants us to strive to do what is right. He doesn’t want us to sin. He can’t wait for the day that we get to spend eternity with Him in a place with no sin or mourning or crying or pain. But He also knows that earth is not that place.
One of the most amazing things about God is His grace. We all sin. We are all so undeserving of each breath that we get to take on this earth, let alone eternal life. Yet, if we believe, He gives it to us through the death of His only Son. And, because of that, we get to walk freely in His light. We don’t have to earn it. And even when we mess up in the biggest ways, still He pursues us.
God made Paul, someone who spent his life killing Christians, one of the most prominent spreaders of Christianity. Jesus made Peter, someone whose faith had failed when he stepped into some waves, one of His closest disciples, one of three that Jesus took with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane before His death. And after this Peter didn’t just suddenly become a perfect Christian. No, in fact, he denied Jesus three times. He slipped up. And he slipped up big. But God didn’t reject Peter because of that. Instead he used him to do great things and spread the good news to a people who had never heard it before.
That’s because redemption is not an event. It’s a process. That process isn’t necessarily linear. Often, like with Peter, that process is one step forward and two steps back. Sometimes we fall back to our old, sinful ways, but even when we do, God is there to welcome us back with open arms.
Lately, I’ve kind of fallen in love with the idea of God using broken things. It all started with my stress fracture. The day that I went in to get the MRI, I knew. I just knew I had one, because I woke up and saw this verse, 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” This verse is basically saying that God entrusts His treasure, the Gospel and the furthering of His Kingdom, to us, the mere jars of clay. When I think about this verse, I wonder why God chose something so ordinary and so breakable to hold something so valuable. Why he wouldn’t choose something strong like steel or something pretty like china. But that is exactly why He chose the clay. To show that the all surpassing power belongs to Him, not to us. So the focus is on him.
Throughout this injury, there have been so many days when the process is one step forward two steps back. Some days I’ve been able to rejoice in the small things, while others I’ve felt overwhelmed with grief over what I’m missing out on. There are days when I’ve felt completely at peace and there are days when I’m anxious for what the future holds. But through all those days, God is at work in His redemptive process, using the broken things to bring Him glory. And I for one think that is beautiful.
We are Bethel Women, each of us unique yet following Jesus together. We hope you are encouraged as you read this testimony of God’s redemptive process in the life of one of our young adult women. Take a moment to reflect on how God is redeeming your broken to bring Him glory. How can you share your story this summer, to encourage others and bring God glory?
If you’d like to share your story with us we’d love to connect with you. You can reach Rachal or Katie at 628-0150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
. Be sure to mark your calendars for the next Summer Together
on August 15th where we will hear stories of hope from our community.