So this is often a daily fact of life: trying to fix it all in a world that was never made to be fixed. All too often we try to perfect our lives and strive for a harmony and perfection that frankly just doesn’t exist. This world is broken. We broke it. When Eve gave into temptation and sinned, the world was never the same again. So when we get upset when things don’t go our way, don’t let it deter or depress you to the point that it makes you become bitter or hardened. Take trials as part of life….as God’s way of shaping and molding us. We are His jars of clay. The fire in your life that you may currently be fighting may instead be refining you like silver or gold is refined…it is making you who you were made to be. Consider this:
“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God 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.” -2 Corinthians 4:6-7
Think of yourself as that jar of clay- it’s put in a kiln once initially shaped. I remember well the elementary and middle school days of struggling to make some “masterpiece” out of clay and then having to wait a little while until it was ready to be taken home and shown to friends and family…to be cherished and shown to the world. In the kiln, my makeshift piece of who knows what underwent a series of fire and heating. Once complete, I remember always getting so excited about it, no matter the appearance. I would take it home with joy and a feeling of accomplishment at my work. The fire had made the clay strong and solid like a rock, as opposed to the lumpy and flimsy heap of clay it had been before. I think this is how God uses trials to shape us also. Everything that my clay went through was WORTH the wait because now it was not shaky. It was firm. Isn’t this what we, as God’s clay, don’t see? We go through the trial and tribulations and feel like we are waiting and waiting…we can’t seem to get past that stressful part because we don’t know the outcome. But God, as the Creator, does know. He knows the joy and wondrous piece of art that we will amount to after going through the fire of the world’s headaches- just like I did when I offered my clay art up to the fire of the kiln..because I knew that through that stage, the clay would come out as something BETTER in the end. That’s what God sees. Just because we can’t see or know the hidden good that will come out of something does not mean it will not occur.
But here’s the sad part. Sometimes the clay doesn’t come out in one piece. I remember the solemn faces of the poor few kids whose art came out of the kiln in shambles. When faced with the intensity of the fire, the clay exploded. What this represents is the two options you have when faced with a trial. You can either trust in God and let Him make you stronger and more firm in Him- surviving on faith despite the hardships…or you can break. You can let it destroy you from the inside out. Just like that broken clay. And even if you aren’t going through a hard time right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t still prepare for one. They are inevitable and yes ARE going to happen no matter how much you try to keep patching and fixing in this broken world. But there is still hope. See, before we put the clay in the kiln, the way to keep it from breaking in there was to hard press it so it was smooth and without air bubbles. There were these little holes that could be visibly seen. The less little holes you had, the less likely the clay was to explode. So what are some holes in your mind right now that have the potential to make you crack when put into the test of the fire? A relationship that needs mending and forgiving? A secret that could, if under stress, gnaw at you deeper unless confessed? A hidden jealousy in your heart? It could be anything. To reduce the risk of these holes breaking us in times of difficulty, go to God and let Him take these burdens from you. Confess to Him. It will give you freedom. He will remove your blemishes or “air bubbles”. You can then boldly face the trial soothed and smoothed by the work of The Creator’s loving hands…the same hands that know the beauty that will come after the rain. The rainbow after the storm. The jar after the kiln. A new, transformed YOU. A transformed YOU that could use a trying time or experience as a basis to change the world in God’s great name.
But sometimes in the fire we do crack and break- purposely. This is so that when we emerge from the kiln fractured and broken, He can be The One that, like my fellow classmates who were still set on salvaging their shattered art projects, glues us back together. See, just because we break in the hard times does not mean that He then decides to abandon us. He wants to actually SAVE you. Shattered and all. A lot of times He breaks us on purpose so that we can then look up to Him and realize that He is The Ultimate Healer- The One who can fix us. The ONLY One who can fix us. This world is broken, and so are we, no matter how many air bubbles that are smoothed out. But we are the children of a loving God who sent His one and only son Jesus to take our brokenness and make us whole again with His renewed hope and love bestowed in our hearts through The Holy Spirit.