February 21, 2020
Author: Andrea Maher
There’s a saying that goes, “I always knew I would get older, I just never expected to get here this fast!” As I have always told my children, one minute you’re 20; and the next 40! That is the nature of life. We grow old and frail; we get tired and weary.
The apostle Paul addresses this process perfectly, but with an added encouragement, that we have access for the power of God to reign within us.
“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” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11).
The key to this Scripture is that while our bodies may fail, and troubles may abound, our treasure lies within.
Back in biblical times, clay jars were common, unimportant, temporary and expendable. They were delicate and would crack easily. (Sounds a lot like us).
Paul does not say that our treasure is contained in gold boxes. No! The treasure is contained in clay pots aka our fragile bodies. What a relief? And the treasure is the gospel message within us. We can be assured that our flaws are opportunities to show the flawless gospel. When things go awry, whether sickness, unexpected tragedy, or just the trials of everyday life, it should be the light of Christ that shines through us.
Paul is saying when you have a personal relationship with the Lord, you possess His power from within. The word power means “dunamis—dynamite.” The power is in the message that comes out of us, not in the clay jar. God will do great and mighty things with a broken open vessel.
The night before my oldest son’s funeral, our entire family was afflicted with a horrific, debilitating stomach illness. All except me.
I remember the panic that spread through my mind as we had just come home from the viewing. Emotionally drained, I implored the Lord for a healing as my mind couldn’t fathom the incomprehensible thought of attending my son’s funeral alone without my family by my side.
The next morning, I put my hands on what I could—delay the service and get some anti-nausea medicine. And then I placed my knees to the floor and prayed for that which I had no control.
So, with sadness of heart and the weight of all the “what ifs” of the day on my shoulders, I left for the church in a limousine– alone. It was one of the most desolate moments of my life.
But it was right there, on that 15- minute ride, that I encountered the ministering of the Holy Spirit. And Emmanuel “God with us,” took over. My experience can best be expressed in Psalm 138:3: “When I called, You answered me, You greatly emboldened me.”
I entered that church a cracked vessel, but what seeped out of me was the power of the Holy Spirit—His might and His strength carried me with such an inner confidence and peace. Gratefully, every member of my family eventually made it and God was glorified in the ceremony. But I will never forget the power of His presence that surrounded me.
Always remember even when our bodies fail, God never fails. It is His power that will be seen best when we are in the throngs of our weaknesses. We are all “cracked pots,” and it is His scarred hands that are waiting to strengthen us with His might and power. It is our job to fill ourselves with living water so when the cracks begin to show through, the only option is for the Word to seep out.
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Andrea Maher is the former editor-in-chief of PARENT ABC’S a monthly magazine. Her writings have been featured in local newspapers and parenting publications nationwide. She is the author of SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief, and had her book selected as FAITHBOX book of the month.
She is the executive director of the Be Still Foundation, a ministry that disseminates hope and encouragement to families in crisis. She has been married to her husband John for 43 years and has four children, and 8 grandchildren.