Lori Roeleveld is one of my favorite Christian writers because her blog posts always encourage me to not just learn how to make it through a day as a Christian. She reminds me in her words that this world will pass away. She reminds me I’m not strong enough. She reminds me we all are struggling as Christians and we’re all needing Jesus, believer or not. And that’s okay because in all of those things, I know that there’s a better, brand new kingdom coming when Jesus returns one day. It’s okay because I know though I’m not strong enough, God is, and I’m not alone. It’s okay because the grace through Jesus’ death and His rising from death is sufficient grace and justice all at once.
Might as well end this post here.
But nah. I always gotta blab.
I mention Lori not just because I really want you to check out her stuff, but because of this social media post she made a few weeks back that I shared on a day I identified deeply with the prayer.
“‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.’ 2 Corinthians 4:7
Dear God, I have the clay part down. Today, I feel every ounce of the clay but I trust in your surpassing power to overrule my feelings. In every moment of my clay-ness today, I pray your power will reign. Despite what my eyes see, grant me faith to act on the truth of the unseen reality that is your kingdom come, Your redemptive power at work on earth, and the transformation of my clayness to the likeness of Your Son.”
When I found this, I didn’t show it much, but inside I felt like clay. Angry that I was ungrateful over some things, impatient about others, fearful over the unknown, and moody as I tend to be…guilty over having all this.
I was on the road at the time and saw the post on my phone while we stopped for lunch. As I soaked in Lori’s prayer, this lyric from a song popped into my head. (I’d found it a while before, but didn’t keep perusing through Levi Weaver’s stuff since it seemed like he mainly sang about depression. Music like that can make me personally, moodier sometimes. But anyway, I found his song, “Dark Clay“, and the lyrics to one chorus popped into my head.)
But I am dark, dark clay
I’m all made up of earth and ugly rain
But even when I twist myself to sad and awful shapes
You find a way to love me anyway
You keep finding ways to love me anyway
Whether Mr. Weaver’s referring to God or family or a spouse or a friend or someone else, I’m unsure, but I thought of God being that One who loves, even when He has every right and reason not to love us, and I smiled.
I said a prayer similar to Lori’s, then got into the car to continue my travel.
We promise Jesus we’ll try our hardest not to let Him down or believe we never will because we’ll try hard to be faithful. We say we’ll follow Him anywhere. We promise we’ll do better, even after we’ve made it clear a couple times that we’re struggling to trust.
We doubt our Jesus, even when we try with all our little hearts.
Peter screwed up, but let’s not sit here and shake our heads yet because we all do it too. We deny Jesus in fear, pride, or trust of ourselves to take care of ourselves or just stray off of what God’s told us to do.
And then there’s Gideon, who’s like Peter and us scared little kids.
He’s unsure God even cares about the Israelites anymore since they’ve been tormented so much by the Midianites. Thing is, we know this is God’s judgment because the Israelites disobeyed Him (again) by worshiping idols and more.
They left God–God didn’t leave them.
Gideon is slowly learning about his own doubts asks God to give assurance as he moves along in his following God’s instructions.
In both cases, what I love about them is that Peter and Gideon are both shown grace.
As Peter denies, Jesus is in an unfair court trial, being beaten and spat on for him. For everyone.
As Gideon’s asking God to confirm His will and for assurance He’ll fulfill His promises, God graciously gives Gideon assurance with the fleece and the dew. Yet, He also continues to push him out of his comfort zone to do things that show Gideon his doubting and his need for reliance on God.
Something I learned in church today was that the jars with torches mentioned in Judges 7:20 are clay jars. Little clay jars filled with light.
And the tiny army of men with Gideon smashes them so the light goes everywhere and shocks the Midianites in their camp, just before God’s tiny army, led by Gideon, annihilates an army so big it was like a “swarm of locusts.”
And Peter, after Jesus is risen, in John 21, is graciously forgiven by Christ as he repents. He’s humbled as Christ tells him to tend to His sheep, by the light of a campfire on the beach, in the early morning hours.
Gideon’s humbled and worships as he hears two Midianite men who don’t even know him personally refer to Gideon specifically as the one God chose to destroy their camp.
And I’m humbled as dark clay.
I can keep “fighting, fighting on,” like Levi Weaver says in his song, but I prove that I’m dark clay the more I try to push through it myself.
Dear friend, you’re not perfect, and sometimes, God’s going to let your clay jar get smashed. But in the end, it’s about letting Christ’s light go out and everywhere.
And it’s going to shock the forces of oppression we’ve brought onto ourselves because of our own evils. And God’s stepping up and crushing that army.
We’re broken pots and mosaics; He uses regardless.
We are dark, dark clay. But how loved we are too. How moldable in the Potter’s hands we are too.
My Mom told me when I was stressing over a compliment someone gave me: “If someone sees you like that, don’t worry about what you did to deserve it. You didn’t do anything. It’s praising God’s handiwork. Not yours.”
God cleared up again and again to just rest in the grace of those kind words, and realize that it’s reflecting His love and His glory. Not mine.
We’re dark clay, and sometimes people will see the beauty in God’s work in us. Let’s not thank ourselves for that or worry that we’re not enough for that.
Let’s rejoice and sing and see what He’s going to do to get that light to shine on our dark muck.
Much love to you, frens.
Sorry for so many posts with a similar topic. My mind dwells on many of the same things again and again, but with different words. The Gospel always goes back to the same point too, I think, but with so much more all at once.
We need grace through Jesus.
We need help from Him.
We need Him.
(Credit to my brother and his awesome pottery skills in that castle pictured.)