"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
"Where is that goat?" the young Bedouin shepherd muttered under his breath in frustration. He clambered over the rocks as he moved up the cliff on his search. It was hot, and he was impatient.
Rather than going into the darkness of the cave near him to look, the shepherd tossed a rock into the opening and listened for a protesting "Bahhhh!" Instead, he heard the breaking of a pot. Suddenly the goat was forgotten, and the shepherd's curiosity prevailed.
He entered the cave to find one of the greatest archeological and religious treasures ever discovered — the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Visiting an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls captured my imagination, and my mind pictured the story above. The tale continues that this nomadic shepherd took the scraps of paper rolled in a cloth and stored in the pot to a merchant in Bethlehem. From there, the treasure passed from hand to hand until they came to rest in a special museum at Hebrew University named the Shrine of the Book.
The fact that these ancient documents of God's own Word lay moldering, unfound in a cave for over a thousand years before being found in the search for a wandering goat seized my heart and mind.
Paul tells us that each believer is a jar of clay that contains treasure. When we look through scripture, we see that we contain peace (Philippians 4:7), the forgiveness of sins, redemption, the riches of God's grace (Ephesians 1:7), joy (John 15:11) and the resurrection power of Christ (Philippians 3:10).
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls provides a powerful and biblical picture of how a broken vessel can release the power of God into our lives and those around us. Brokenness, although painful, is one of God's means of showing His all-surpassing power in our lives.
Even when the cause of our brokenness is the result of living in a fallen and sin-filled world, God is able to show Himself as the Redeemer by pouring out His treasures through us.
Are you a broken or crushed pot today? Are you suffering because of the loss of a job or the current financial crisis? Are your emotions broken and bruised because of the rejection of a friend or husband? Are you experiencing crushing loneliness because of the loss of someone dearly loved? Is your heart torn and bleeding for a wayward child?
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, He says even in catastrophic times He is not only with you but longing to pour out through you.
God's Word that you have been storing away in the quiet times with Him can be revealed through your brokenness. He sees your pain, and His heart breaks with your every hurt. You are dearly loved. Hold on to His promise that your brokenness is not wasted but releases His Spirit to do works of perseverance, power, character and hope.
At times, I've been a very intact pot, moldering and hidden in a cave while the world around me sinks into the abyss of the absence of His Word. I pray with my broken sisters today that God would use the broken places in each of us for His great glory and our ultimate good. I pray even as He walks with us through the broken places of our lives that His Word would be exposed and powerful in a lost and dying world.
Dear Lord, I come to You in brokenness today. I give myself over to You even in my weakness and frailness. No matter if I've been broken by sin or circumstances, I ask You to fill my broken pot and pour out through me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Read today's power verses below and memorize one of them. Carry it with you on a card. Read it out loud to yourself when you feel your heart struggling to believe God's promises or when you are going through a difficult time.
How can I come to know God's Word better so that it can flow out in times of brokenness?
Philippians 3:10-11, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." (NIV)
James 1:2-3, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (NIV)
Romans 5:3-5, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (NIV)