I love flowers. And I love that spring is the season of flowers. I swear, every time I reach a new season I decide that it’s my favorite, but actually I think I’m just in love with the creation that God cleverly designed.
And as I have observed the flower closely, I have found that it is complex and intricate, yet beautifully so.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmingly complex, and like I’ll never truly understand myself or why I do certain things. And unlike the flower, I think it’s easy to feel not so beautiful, yet just as complicated.
Lately, this complexity has left me feeling more frustrated than ever and has left me with more restlessness than peace.
So. Much. Confusion... Am I right?
Today, I read this…”But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that that 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 (2 Corinthians 4).
I feel so much like I have been destroyed and struck down, which is dramatic sounding, but life does that sometimes, doesn’t it? It makes us feel weak and icky—like we can’t keep living broken—yet God has set His treasures in jars of clay…
Do you know how easy it is to break a jar of clay? All you need to do is let it slip between your fingers, and it will crash into a million little pieces.
Yet God chose to place his light and salvation in us...we, breakable humans. And all this so that He may be completely glorified.
Perplexed but not in despair.
When I read that line, I was frustrated because in my dramatic state, I felt the need to argue with God that I was indeed in despair… But then He moved me to search for the definition of this one word, and here it is:
“the complete loss or absence of hope.”
As I looked over this definition, I thought to myself, no. I am not ever without hope. As believers we never can be without it, for He has said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16).
God’s victory is ours. He made the world, and though it may break us, it will never break Him. Therefore we can never be in true despair, and this hope is given to us that we might be brave and persevere in spite of our fear.
We are shattered by this world, but made capable by our victorious Savior.
And while this world has caused us to shatter into tiny little pieces of a broken clay jar, He chose us, not just in spite of the fact that we were broken, but because we were broken. He sees our pieces and He will put us back together knowing that we are better now that we’ve been shattered.
He will heal us...bring us back to Him...return life to our broken bones…
“I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36).
I am so grateful that God loves me when I’m broken, because I am not a pretty picture in this state. But where we may see a giant puzzle and a complex mess, I would guess that He sees His beautiful flower. A chosen vessel with His hidden treasure inside.
But it is easy to ignore this truth that we are broken with a purpose. It is 100 times easier to accept that we are much too broken for this kind of pure love. We fall into the patterns of this world. A world that tosses aside the cracked phone, the stained shirt, the failed paper, the injured player, the mistake-prone person…
But guys, God is so different than this. He is so different from us. He chooses the cracked screen, the puzzle with the missing piece, the person with the failed relationship... He chooses us.
He renews our spirit and offers us Himself as a way of healing. He has this gentle, tender, touch that guides our scattered bits into something more whole than it has ever been.
Someone shared this quote with me recently that snapped me back into the reality of growth...
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone, The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes, To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” - Cynthia Occelli
I am undone. Cracked to pieces. And while it may appear and feel as though we have been completely shattered, we are only falsely destroyed.
See, we jars of clay...we are broken yet dearly loved.
This is the hope that He has given us...that we are finally shattered to bits, so that we might finally be healed. Yet we need to make the decision to believe this. We need to fight against a world that tells us we are too complicated or broken to love.
Remember this hope: You are not a complex mess or an over-complicated problem. You are not too broken for God. You are a cracked seed, ready to grow—a beautiful flower made intentionally intricate. A wonderful jar of clay, that is pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...nope. Never destroyed.
...but in spite of the cracks, holes, and shattered clay...you, my friend, are dearly loved.