Jars of Clay
We took in a new foster this week who was in a horrific car crash last year. It’s taken almost 9 months to recoup but she finally came home with me last Thursday. She is getting stronger but is quite fragile still. She had broken her jaw multiple places and will require extensive surgery in the future to reconstruct her face, but for now she’s alive and healthy. We are blessed to take care of her.
One of the conditions of her discharge was extreme precautions regarding her face and jaw in particular. She has had so much infection in her bone that it’s become very brittle and full of holes. So much so that she has to eat a soft or puréed diet. A single bite of a chip or chomping on carrots could cause her jaw to literally splinter within her skin. So she’s learned to be careful- as have we- with her diet and activity. No WWE in her future I’m afraid. It’s become a constant hum in the background of my mom-brain to keep an ear out for her, reminding her not to jump on the trampoline or lamenting with her that she can’t play volleyball with the other kids. She’s mourning the loss of Ruffles potato chips and pizza. And yet she understands the need for extreme caution- if only for a (hopefully) short time.
Today she told me, “Mom, I’m not going to get upset when I can’t do things anymore, I know it won’t last very long. It’ll be worth it in the end.”
Ugh. My heart.
Despite her fragility, this precious girl exudes happiness and contentment. She sees others and their trials and tribulations and comes alongside them in such amazing ways. I’ve seen her reach out to strangers to comfort them. She’s come to me in times of stress and just stood there with her little arms wrapped around me for encouragement. She’s astounding in her strength.
She’s been a constant reminder to me lately of how God uses us- simple, extraordinarily fragile, weak, and frail vessels- to do His good work. Just like my fragile daughter, who’s body is broken but who’s spirit is strong, so also has our Father put forth His eternal treasure within mere jars of clay.
What a thing! I can hardly get my mind around it at times. And to think that for as much concern and instruction, care and protection I give to my daughter and her fragile bones, how much more must He place over us as the vessels of His spirit. I cannot imagine.
But we need to be careful too, just as she is. Our ‘bodies’, our ‘vessels’ are weak and fragile. We can not be around certain things, do certain things, eat certain things. For the health of our souls our Father has set out instructions to keep us healthy. For the welfare of our eternity and the value of the precious treasure that resides within us we must be cautious of our behavior.
It is hard. Many days carrying the weight of such a burden is not fun, glamorous, or easy. We miss out on what others are doing, we can’t participate with the crowd, we don’t intake that which looks so enticing. But for all of those days, and seeming missed opportunities dear ones, let me repeat the words of my wise-beyond-her-years newest addition, “I’m not going to get upset when I can’t do things anymore, I know it won’t last very long. It’ll be worth it in the end.”
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and 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. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ESV
It WILL be worth it in the end because, you, my dearest, are a very fragile jar of clay carrying an immense, eternal treasure that the King of the universe has placed within you. Protect it well- frail though you may be.