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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Not just a cracked pot

As I photograph things, I don't look for the "perfect", but am willing to accept the "imperfect", for there is something of great beauty in the tree set askew by the wind, the broken branch protruding from the gentle waters, or the windblown dunes of the ever-changing landscape.  Some of us think of "being perfect" as what we are attempting to attain - as though it is a destination at which we arrive at some point in time because of some effort we take in life.  The truth is - we will live in imperfect bodies, in an imperfect world, with other imperfect people all our lives!  The pursuit of perfection is kind of over-rated!  What we fail to see is how God sees each of us - as made perfect through the blood of his Son! God looked at the "imperfect" in each of us and saw something of beauty he just didn't want to discount, or turn away from.  Just as I capture those photos of the broken, ever-changing, and kind of askew in nature, God reaches out to capture the lives of those who are "cracked pots" - imperfect, broken people!

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us.  We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair.  We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well.  (2 Corinthians 4:7-10 VOICE)

God doesn't look for "perfect pots" to house the beautiful treasure of his presence and peace.  He looks for "cracked pots" - imperfect people with needs often as apparent at the cracks in the pot!  I am so grateful he doesn't just pass over the "cracked pots" in this world - because if he did, I'd be at the top of the heap of discarded "pots"!  The treasure of his presence is placed into "cracked pots" so all will see the beauty of the pot as he fills it with all he is - not the imperfect places and deep fissures in the character of the pot.  

What leaves all those cracks and chips?  Clearly it is all the many things in life which come to afflict, bewilder, beat us down, and bring suffering to us.  Some of the cracks and chips are just because we didn't care for the "pot" as we should, kind of oblivious to how our mistreatment of the pot created the perfect environment for it to become marred and chipped by life.  Other cracks and dings are there because someone else didn't exactly treat the "pot" as well as they should, bringing painful fissures difficult to repair.

At best, we can "glue" the pieces of our lives together in some way which makes the "pot" we call "us" a little more appealing, or closer to "normal" than it was before we applied whatever that "glue" may be.  The truth is, we cannot hold water!  The "glue" isn't going to show the cracks anymore, but it won't hold up to the test of hot water!  Why?  The cracks aren't gone - they are just "masked" by the glue.

My neighbors had a large cracked urn in their yard for the longest time.  As I'd make my way to the mailbox, I was continuously reminded that even cracked pots have a purpose - it may not be what was originally planned for the pot, but never discard the cracked pot, for you never know what thing of beauty may emerge from those cracks!  You see, I saw this cracked pot, not as cracked and unworthy of use, but as that which could bring forth the most beautiful of budding plants, tiny blossoms all intertwined and displayed in the brightest of color. 

Their pot sat in the midst of gravel and dried leaves.  In my mind, I saw the possibilities in the pot, not the lack of them! I think God may just see each of us this same way - not for the lack of possibilities we have, but the vastness of beauty he can produce in and through those "cracks" in our character!  If you have a few cracks in your pot, don't mask over them - and certainly don't view the pot as worth nothing more than to be discarded!  God doesn't see us as needing the mask, nor does he want us to be left barren and useless buried under some dead leaves somewhere.

God wants to bring glory and beauty into the cracks and fissures of our broken lives.  Those cracks and fissures are just a means by which he may bring forth the most beautiful display of his glory!  Don't curse your cracks, but allow God to begin to bring forth beauty from deep within those broken places!  Just sayin!