[An oldie but goodie, first published in April, 2017 and dusted-off for “the post of the day.” Thank you, dear Linda!]
I wrote this poem the other day for ‘Thankful Thursday’ on my own blog. Knowing that many who visit Broken Believers struggle with illness and pain, I thought this would be good to share here as well.
There are plenty of cracked clay pots around this place, and God is in the business of using and healing cracked pots.
Our Great Physician
Illness comes to everyone – pain, fever, fatigue, and tears Chronic or acute, it’s such a trial – these clay pots we inhabit are so incredibly fragile even in the hands of the Potter
But our Great Physician provides strength, comfort – Sometimes He brings doctors, nurses, and medication – Wisdom and talents used to do His will, to heal, to mend
Sometimes all it takes is to touch the hem of His robe – Like the woman who bled for twelve long years, outcast one moment, then healed completely and wholly
The greatest good – spiritual health and salvation for the least of us, for all – each clay pot used to help others as grace leaks out of cracks – Cracks that never seem to heal
Sometimes what the Physician has in store is our ultimate healing – A new body, new life eternal in a place of no more pain, no tears, energy galore – as death brings everyone home
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NIV)
Your Sister in Christ,
Check out Linda’s blog: www.lindakruschke.wordpress.com
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
(Mark 4:39-40, NLT)
There He is, sleeping on a pillow, seemingly unaware of the danger that the disciples were facing. They’re suddenly in the middle of a cyclonic fury–a ‘bomb’ of wind and waves that is bursting into their tiny little boat. The twelve had never seen waves so high, or a storm rise up so fast.. At least four were seasoned fisherman, and they knew how to handle a boat. But this storm was way beyond anything they’ve ever faced before.
Maybe it was over crowded; the dimensions of the boat would’ve been around 25-30 feet long, and maybe 7-8 feet wide, more or less, and a single mast. The twelve crowded in, while the four fisherman handled the sail and the rudders. Jesus found His place in the stern. It had been a long full day, and everyone expected a restful crossing. The break would be welcomed.
Why do we doubt? Being unsure and uncertain is a very human quality, especially when everything has gone haywire. Things have turned out really rotten, and now the situation is starting to look even more grim. Our response varies–from mild concern to outright panic. We honestly never know what to expect or how to react. Small things look big. Big things look small.
To put it mildly, the disciples in the storm are scared out of their wits. They’re completely overwhelmed by the possibility of drowning. They are now fighting to stay alive. The waves are getting higher and higher, and the boat ‘groans’ like it wants to fall apart. They pitch up and down, twisting like some wacky ‘roller-coaster’ ride!
“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”
Never do they think that Jesus had declared that their destination was across the lake, and certainly not beneath it! But now where is Jesus? Twenty-eight eyes look to the very back of the boat. “Wake Him up, we’re all going to drown.” Funny how we are sometimes. Things are going nuts and we’re starting to come apart. Yet we wait to the last possible moment and seldom consider that Jesus has been in our “boat” all along.
Important idea: When Jesus stands up, and speaks to the wind and waves, He will use the same word as when He freed the demoniac, just a few verses later!
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“I am with you always” is the promise given to each believer. Consider dear one, Jesus has chosen to stay with us and bring His supernatural touch directly into our storm. He will always make an appearance to all who are His. He is “responsible” for you. His intention is to bring you to the other side. His very honor is at stake! (Phil. 1:6). He fully believes He can grow your faith. (Heb. 11:6).
Life can fall apart on us very fast, I know first-hand. And it seems like it’s ‘doubly dangerous’ for those struggling with depression or disability. It’s like we have extra weights put on us, and when you’re barely “treading water,” that really isn’t good. Not only do we have these heavy burdens on us, but we must survive this horrendous storm. (The waves can get massive, and our boat is very small.)
“While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost.”
The disciples called out to Jesus, and that is all they had to do. The rest belonged to their Lord. Obviously the disciples had zero ability to ‘halt’ their storm. But when they finally summoned Jesus, they became mere ‘spectators.’ All they did was watch as God move, and they simply sat still in amazement. (1 Samuel 12:16). He did all of the ‘work.’
What is going on in your life? Storms will always come, one way or another. These five should help:
He has promised to bring us to the other side, no debate here
He is in our boat, and superintends every storm we face
He understands our limitations, our weaknesses, our griefs, what saddens us
He has all authority and power, He does what He wants, whenever He wants
He teaches us to be faithful disciples, and it seems we understand our ‘voyage’ better
We maybe the broken, but perhaps that makes it easier to understand?
It is a bad habit to try to teach without personal knowledge. We can preach, and yet we do not possess. This is one of the occupational hazards of those of us in our profession. It also seems to carry a horrible curse of spiritual sterility, that the wise believer can discern.
It’s been 13 years since a diagnosis of Bipolar 1 was made. I believe I was BP in my teens. Life is a roller-coaster for me, up and down, with a twist or two along the way. I am now fairly aware at 58 that much of my earthly existence has already been lived. Life can become such a grind. I’m tired and broken and ready for eternity.
“One should go to sleep as homesick passengers do, saying, “Perhaps in the morning we shall see the shore.”
–Henry Ward Beecher
Billy Bray (a bearer of an unfortunate name) was an illiterate Cornish evangelist in the 1850s. He was heard to pray this: “Lord, if any have to die this day, let it be me, for I am ready.” By faith, I think I do understand these sentiments. I am ready to go as well.
I love collecting good quotes. But here’s two more good ones:
“God buries His workmen but carries on His work.” -Charles Wesley
“If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find a home,” why should we not look forward to the arrival?” – C.S. Lewis
Sorry if I’m being too maudlin. But the battle is so long, and it doesn’t ever let up, does it? We all can become weary after a while. What we need is to be ‘shut in’ with the Lord. The Word reminds us:
”Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God”
“Tribulations” are common, and each must battle through them. And without being melodramatic, we each must walk through the blazing furnace. But I can also boldly attest that there is more than enough grace for each of us. We just need to become desperate enough. (Which shouldn’t be too hard).
Armor is given. Wearing it means you’ll survive (and thrive) to see another day. Those who may suggest that the Christian life is a “bed of roses,” I would say that they haven’t read Ephesians 6. If there is no war, why would the Holy Spirit tell us to put it on?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
We are just starting to learn we must fall in love with Jesus. He receives us with a massive kind of love. And His mercy meets us at every doubtful corner. You have His Word on it. Simply ask Him to come to you.
I once admired the earrings my friend, Ann, was wearing – they were square, smooth, flat, and made of gold. When I remarked how beautiful they were, she replied, “They’re yours!” Ann then proceeded to take them off and put them on my ears! Humbled by her gift, the earrings became a treasure. Once while wearing them at work, one slipped off my ear – looked but couldn’t find it, so I wheeled to my office door to ask for help.
That’s when I felt a clunk-clunk-clunk. The earring was impaled on my tire; it was ruined! That weekend I took it to a jeweler and asked, “Sir, can you make this mangled earring look like the smooth one?” He rubbed his chin and said, “I can’t make that one look like this one… But I can make this one look like that one!” He then took a mallet and hammered the smooth, square earring into a mangled mess! At first I was horrified, but now I realize that the misshapen earrings reflect the light more beautifully than when they were ‘normal.’ It’s a lesson reflected in this timeless poem:
When God wants to drill a man, And thrill a man, and skill a man, When God wants to make a man To play the noblest part, When He yearns with all His heart To build so great and bold a man That all the world shall be amazed, Then watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects, Whom He royally elects; How He hammers him and hurts him, And with mighty blows converts him Into shapes and forms of clay Which only God can understand While man’s tortured heart is crying And he lifts beseeching hands…
Yet God bends but never breaks When man’s good He undertakes; How He uses whom He chooses, And with mighty power, infuses him, With every act induces him to try His splendor out, God knows what He’s about.
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