Friday, August 17, 2012

Jars of Clay

"BuT WE Have tHis TReAsuRe in jars of clay,
To show that the suRPassiNG PoweR
beLongs to GoD & NOT to us
We are AFFLiCTeD in EvERy waY, but not crushed
PerPLexeD, but noT DriveN TO DesPaiR; 
peRsEcuTeD, but NOT FoRsaKeN
sTrucK DOWN, BuT not DesTroYeD
ALwaYs carrYing IN tHe boDy the death of JESUS,
so THaT the LiFE OF JESUS maY  aLso
be  ManiFesTeD in ouR BoDies."
I know how to die. I've helped dozens of people do just that in my previous career. It's the living I haven't quite got a hold of yet. You see, it isn't only in death that we await the raising of our bodies. For those of us in chronic pain, we long for it every day. Say what I will, no matter what good comes from this pain, no matter how I understand God to be working in it, no matter what I believe of God and heaven, no matter what I know with my mind and trust with all my heart, some days the pain and the illness are just too much. 

On these days, the only thing that brings me any kind of comfort at all is the fact that Jesus chose to endure pain―not just pain like mine, but MY PAIN. He took it upon Himself on the cross where He took on all the pain of everyone who ever lived and ever would live, suffering, sin and death of the world to defeat it with itself. This is what He did when He took on the human form of a jar of clay.
“BUT we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that He, for Whom and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:9-10)
A perfect man and fully God, free both of and from all sin, Jesus had no reason what-so-ever to endure what I endure, and He chose to endure it and so much worse because He loves me -- us -- that much. Period. Can you imagine? It's not me enduring my pain at all: it's me enduring a small piece of Jesus' pain because He endured it for me. And suddenly, it all seems... worth it.
“For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)

 Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day comes from 2 Corinthians 4:16a
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
“So we do not lose heart -------> 5 count inhale
though our outer self is wasting away.” -------> 5 count exhale

See "The Potter and the Clay" for more on these jars of clay.

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