Weak. It’s not what we want to be.
It’s far more glamorous to be strong. Able. Buff. Ripped. Cut. Well-off. Certain. Capable. Adept. Fierce.
No one enjoys being the needy one. The one asking for things. The one with nothing to contribute.
There’s ease in being the one with enough margin, enough wisdom, enough financial means, enough wiggle-room in the schedule.
The one with enough seems more valuable. More capable. More productive. More concerned. More lovable.
But that’s not what God’s economy says.
In His view, the one who is hungry and thirsty is the one who is full.
The one who is poor is rich.
The weak vessel — with the disappointing cracks — is the one He picks because He can shine through the cracks.
And pay attention here, because this is the uncomfortable part.
Picture with me a vase. A vase with cracks:
- Some of the fissures are thin like a hairline, so fine you have to squint to see if it goes all the way through the wall of the vessel.
- Some are thick and obvious cracks. Anyone looking knows about them right away.
- In a few spots, the once-brilliant-colored glaze is chipped off.
- And there’s one part that seems like it was set next to a candle for too many years; the dark residue looks embedded and may never be able to be cleaned off.
We’re each kind of like that vase.
We have broken places that are barely noticeable, some that remain hidden from certain angles, and some that are obvious.
The longer people are around us, the less brilliant everything looks and the more our brokenness is what is noticeable.
It’s especially true when your vase is set up in the Christian community in a spot for many to see. With the appearance of strength (note: no one is actually strong in themselves, but many appear so) comes those who desire to use you for their ends. It’s the ugly truth experienced by many Christian celebrities.
- People come alongside, and pour whatever they desire into your vase. They want YOUR vase to be a testimony to THEIR “right” way of doing things.
- Maybe they urge you to set your vase up even higher, on an even more “important” mantle.
- Or they take photos alongside your vase. They want to associate themselves (the ‘self’ that they know deep down inside is just a weak, cracked pot) alongside your pot because they think your pot is a nice clean, presentable one.
They haven’t yet learned that cracked pots are the only kind.
But always… in unexpected ways and times… God cleans His house.
The tsunami of God’s grace comes ripping through the house. Nothing appears to be where it once was. Vessels get tossed asunder. More cracks appear. Old cracks become more visible.
When your life is tossed around in the waves, other people get a glimpse of what you’re trusting in.
At some point, though… after the rip-roaring waves smash you around… and after you bob on the surface for a while… at some point the weak crack-pot of a vase called “You” comes to rest someplace. The place of His choosing.
And while you’re drying out, assessing the new damage, the Son shines through those cracks.
The life that is in CHRIST, gets the broken pieces highlighted by His brilliant light.
Everything appears hopeless, lifeless, dry… and then BLAM-O, that’s the exact place brightened by His light.
And it’s stunning.
The broken places of fear, loss, pain, slander, weakness– the places of our deep hurts– become the places where His LIGHT gets through.
It’s not really what we’d pick, is it?
If we’re being honest, we want all the nice shiny, “together” parts of our life to be what’s highlighted.
Lord, please turn me around when You set me on the mantle, so that burned-part doesn’t show.
And if you would, Lord, could you please choose some decor around me that gently draws the attention away from the larger cracks?
Uh, and Lord, couldn’t you make it so my cracks are fully repaired, here and now, so that I have it all together rather than constantly leaking?
But the God of Scripture does not line up with self-ward wishes. Its Author bids me come to die. He tells me His STRENGTH is made perfect in this sad-sack vessel of weakness I have to offer.
Which, then, makes it possible for us to thank Him for us being the weak, cracked pots we are.
When we are weak… and we KNOW we’re weak… we get the FREEDOM that comes with no longer trying to do that dance of pretending:
- Pretending there are no cracks,
- Pretending that you didn’t really see the cracks you saw,
- Pretending that every crack has been patched up and there’s “nothing to see here.”
When we know we’re weak, we can admit it. And that’s where the beauty of Christ shows so powerfully.
- ongoing hurts
His beauties are on full display:
- His mercy
- His provision
- His good plans
- His kindness, working through His people
- His perfection, compared to our imperfection
- His ability to change our hearts, contrasted with our inability to change our own
- His Word, and the way it is written for cracked-and-broken hearts.
And even when it comes with great loss… shock… deep sorrow– I praise Him for this very good truth:
He shines His glorious light through the cracks.
Grace & Peace,