This post has been sitting on my computer for the last few weeks, but I kept getting distracted from sharing it. This morning I woke up with an almost urgent need to share it, as if God was pulling me to my computer to share this with you. So, I pray that this lands in the hands of whomever it is that needs it today. Feel free to leave a comment, or send an email if you’re heart is heavy with this and want some prayer. Please know that you never alone, and that no matter what your past or present looks like, God loves you. He has placed his family all around you, to be here to help you through whatever is weighing you down. We are two of your sisters in Christ who would be happy to listen.
Without further ado, here’s the post…
I was reading in the book “The Good and Beautiful God” (James Bryan Smith) of a story of a professor who brought in a box to his class. He asked the students to beat up the box, then stuck a light inside and turned off the lights. Out of the holes shone the light.
This image became imbedded in my mind, and eventually curiosity got the best of me. One quiet day when no one was home I found an old box in our basement and thought I’d give it a go. At first I was careful. I gently took a knife and punctured a hole through it. To my surprise tears flooded my eyes. I kept going, being less and less gentle with this box. Each rip, each stomp represented something in my life that had changed who I was, something that hurt deeply. Each crumple and each hole was a painful memory from my past. I kicked the box around my kitchen awhile longer thankful that no one was around to watch the spectacle.
After, I took my box to my basement where the sun wasn’t shining, and found a light to stick inside. I stood back looking at my crumpled box, and the light streaming through that lit up the room around me. It struck me, those rips that ripped the most were the places where the light was shining the brightest. My gentle little hole pokes with a knife where hardly noticeable. It was where I really let lose that the light could escape into the dark room the best.
This image stayed with me the rest of the week. It really is an image of salvation! You, me, and everyone around us is a fragile cardboard box. We live in a world filled with sin, and as a consequence of living here we get beaten up, ripped, and stomped on. As a container we serve no purpose, we cannot hold whatever stuff we were thought to be purposed to contain. When we accept Jesus to come live in our tattered, sinful containers (our bodies), he does what only he can do. He shines brightly through our flaws into the world! He is so great that he cannot be contained to our damaged selves. No! Instead he spills out of all our imperfections, our shortcomings, our past hurts and lights a path for others to see. A path that will direct their tattered, damaged containers to him, so that they too may join with him in union and spill his light into darkness.
The devil’s been talking though. He tries to tell us that we’re usless. That we’re so damaged that there’s no hope that God would want a life with us. That there’s no hope that God could use sinners like you and me. What a lie! It is through those very weaknesses that God shines out into the darkness! That’s grace my friend! Grace that comes from God says “I know you are flawed, but I want to live in your life.” Grace from God washes away the stains of our past. He takes our crushed, useless containers and turns us into something that’s usable again. He can take whatever rip, and tear you think is too big, and shine so brightly through it, that it won’t be able to be contained! Remember those rips I made? It was places with the most damage (those places that hurt us worst, and left the deepest cuts) that the light shone through the brightest and the furthest!
Are you ready to invite him to be part of your life? Are you ready to ask him to live in your life? To live inside your empty, dark, tattered shell and let him shine through you? If so, I would encourage you to just ask him! It’s so simple, he’s never left your side, even though you may have lost sight of him.
Perhaps you’re farther along in your walk with Christ, but always beating yourself up to be better tomorrow. Continually grasping at being a “perfect” Christian and falling short every time, until defeat swallows you up. It’s time to let perfection go, my friend. Neither you, nor I will make that mark on this side of heaven. Remember God’s promise to Paul though? He says that his power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9) He understands we are weak, and imperfect. Let go of the mask you’ve been wearing to cover those imperfections!
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 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. (2 Cor 4:6-9)
Father, I pray for whomever needs this today. I ask that you would speak to them in their weakness, to encourage them and let them know you have not forgotten them. Thank you for taking the time to delicately craft each and every one of us! Thanks for including us in your plans, may we never forget how valuable we are to you! In Jesus name, amen.