May 19, 2011 Jars of Clay
This spring has been a tough one to tackle for us. Not only has it been incredibly busy for our family, it has also been one full of grief.
Late February I made a trip out to see my Grandma. It was a last-minute, whirlwind of a trip. My mom, two sisters, and one of my brothers were there. I am so thankful to Alan for clearing his schedule so that I could go. I thought it might be the last time that I saw my grandma. Her health had been deteriorating quickly. Sure enough, less than a month later she had passed away.
The same morning that my grandma died Alan’s uncle also passed away. He had fought for many years with cancer. This time cancer won. So what do you do when you have two places to be that are in two opposite directions? We had previously agreed that if I went to CO to see my grandma, that I probably wouldn’t be able to go to the funeral.
We grieved and said good-by to our loved ones.
I always find it interesting how the Word of God speaks even today- thousands of years after it was written. As Alan and I worked through our grief we both met at the same passage in Corinthians. (I’ll share more about this in a minute.)
About a month later my dad called me. You always know that something is wrong when you get an-out-of-the-ordinary call. My uncle (my dad’s oldest brother) had passed away. He had a heart attach while working out in his yard. It was unexpected. I think death is always hardest when it is unexpected. Again I was unable to travel to the funeral. While my parents were gone I found out that a very long and sweet family friend had also passed away. He was one of the most compassionate and loving Christian men I had ever known.
A few days later was Mother’s day. Towards the evening Alan’s mother had called us back. They were taking his grandma to the hospital because she was throwing up. Come to find out she had some blockage in her intestines. A few days later she also passed away. She was 92 years old.
I realized the other morning that Alan and I no longer have any grandparents. That influence from that generation is gone (at least directly from our family).
In March, when our first set of loved ones passed away I began meditating on 2 Corinthians 4.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God
and not from us.
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 4:7,11-12
As I was meditating on this passage, Alan was also working on the sermon he was going to share at his uncle’s funeral. It was a special place for us to meet in the Word.
Just like the pots in this picture our bodies serve a purpose. We are to hold a treasure. The treasure we were created to hold is the salvation of Christ. Not only did God save my pathetic sinful self, but then he dwells in me. God chooses to make my fragile body as a dwelling place for his immortal self.
Similarly- my body is not only a dwelling place for this treasure, but it is very fragile. It should come as no surprise for me to say one day I am going to die. I love how it is phrased later in verse 16:
Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
I’ve said this a thousand times, but it is so true. Life is hard. I cannot imagine how much harder it is without hope. To think that all I am is a pot with no purpose, no treasure. . .I just can’t imagine. I know that I on the inside, God is renewing me day by day. Each day that passes he is working in me to make me a vessel that can be used for noble purposes. (2 Timothy 2:21)
I hope this is the last time, for a long time, that either of us must say good-bye (for now) to our loved ones. My hope is for you to think about what it is that you are carrying around in your jar of clay.