Broken Vessels

I posted this on my face book page a week or so ago:

“Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.” 
J.R. Miller

So often, as humans, we believe God can only use the strong: the one’s who have no physical disabilities; those who are mentally healthy.  Yet churches are full of the broken.  I know, I am one of them.  The reason God is more able to use the unsuccessful and those who have failed is, I believe, because they are aware that they can do little without God’s help.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 There is a possible problem though.  Often, broken people don’t feel they can do anything, in Christ’s strength or otherwise.  They wonder what their role is in a world which worships beauty, riches and power.
***
Every Sunday in church, we sit behind Florrie.  Florrie is an elderly woman, who on first acquaintance seems insignificant.  Her body is failing.  She readily admits that she has never learnt to read, she is unable to help out physically in the church and it is hard for her to open up her home for hospitality.  But Florrie is there at church every  Sunday and she prays.  She will often speak about what she can not do, but it is always followed by the following….

 “…so I do what I can.  I pray.”

Here is a woman who is weak in the eyes of the world, and yet is probably one of the most powerful women in our church, on account of her constant communication with God.  She prays.
***
 Yesterday, we had one of our favourite families round for lunch.  Leah and I are both readers and always have much to chat about.  She is reading a book right now which contains a letter from God at the end of each chapter.  One of the letters moved her enough to take a photograph of it and she showed it to me.  There were a couple of sentences in it which profoundly affected me:

 I am calling you forward.  I want you to be bold. I want you to step out of your weakness and into my courage.  You can’t do this in your own strength but I will empower you as you trust me

This weekend I was incredibly blessed to be able to watch as four of my children performed in a cabaret, held at our church.  One of the songs they sang was broken vessels:

You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord
I’ll be Your vessel
The world to see
Your love in me

…..step out of your weakness and into my courage…..  You see it isn’t about our weakness, but His strength.  In fact, it isn’t about us at all.  It never has been.

7 comments

  1. Your words echo the words that Christ has been calling to the depths of my heart, reminding me that He loves to use broken people. This is the picture that He gave to me concerning broken vessels:

    I had a picture of a cracked vase. The
    Lord said that I was that vase and that He allowed the cracks, because as
    the water of His love flowed into me, it flowed out through all the
    cracks onto others, these cracks were all the trials of my life which I
    felt had damaged me, but He said that through these cracks His waters of
    love flowed out to others and that my trials were not wasted. As the
    water flows it cleans the ‘cracks’, but they will remain, to allow his
    love to flow from me. I will be made complete again on the day I meet
    Him, but until then He will use the ‘cracks’ in my life to be a conduit
    of love to His hurting world.

  2. This reminded me of the Japanese art of kintsugi, where broken ceramics are repaired using gold. The “broken” piece becomes more beautiful by virtue of having been damaged, and the gold speaks loudly of the repair and improvement. I think that’s true of people too; God’s love is shown clearly through people who have suffered and can talk about His healing.

  3. I really like the quote, and I have definitely found this to be true in my own life too, personally, and through other people. And some of the most amazing people in the church are the older people who can ‘only’ pray. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

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