CRACKS IN THE VESSEL - Week of March 13th

By Judy Nichols

March 13, 2016

I know a woman who became paralyzed from the waist down because of a spinal cord infection. When she left the hospital, she was given little hope of ever walking again. Three years later, by the mercy and grace of God, and her determination and perseverance in physical therapy, she is now able to walk with the assistance of only a cane. Throughout this journey she has shared the milestones of her progress on social media, inspiring many to give thanks and praise to God.

As with most things, however, it has not been an all upward pilgrimage. This week she shared one of her struggles. While out running errands with her two children, they picked up her husband from work to go out to lunch. It was raining, and upon entering the crowded restaurant she fell flat on the wet, slippery floor.

With literally no time to react, it had been a hard fall, but her biggest injury was to her pride. She felt embarrassed and humiliated. Events like this make her doubt whether she will ever fully recover her strength. There was a time when something like this would have devastated her for the rest of the day. But this day she decided that nothing was to be gained by being depressed. She needed to pick herself up emotionally, just as she had done physically at the restaurant, and move on.

As I read her story, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."

When we read verse 7, we are inspired to think that God’s amazing power could reside in these mortal bodies of ours. In Ephesians 1:19-20 Paul says this power is the same power God used to raise Jesus from the dead. Wow! That’s awesome power!

We may be tempted to think that the Holy Spirit’s empowering is mainly present in our victories and accomplishments. It certainly is not absent then. But verses 8-10 of 2 Corinthians 4 make it clear that this power is for our failures, our afflictions, our problems, our falls. These are the times when we must put to death the desires of our flesh, when we must lay aside our pride, when we must abandon our self-effort. These are the things that absolutely require supernatural power. Our flesh doesn’t want to be denied; our pride doesn’t want to be anywhere except front and center; and self-effort, no matter how successful it has been in the past, will never be enough to solve all our problems, let alone manifest the life of Jesus within us to others.

My friend’s progress has been an inspiration to many. Her body sustained a grave wound. It is through this wound, this crack in her earthen vessel, that her struggles as well as her accomplishments are manifesting the life of Jesus in her body. May we all aspire to do likewise.

© Judy Nichols 2016

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