Last night I began to read a novel first published in 1895 “In His Steps” by Charles Monroe Sheldon. The premise is that many in a congregation promise for one year in their daily lives to ask the question “What would Jesus do” before making decisions. If we had the compassion of Jesus, it would change our families, churches, and neighborhoods for the better. It would allow us to give to others what all of us want for ourselves. It would enable us to fulfill the purpose for which we leave our footprints on this planet. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
In story after story in the Bible the Lord didn’t call the strong but the weak so that it is His power and glory shown to the world, not our own. We don’t have to wait to serve the Lord when we are healed, He is able to use us just as we are. Paul declared, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (2 Cor. 11:30) because he had found strength through reliance upon God. While lamenting his “thorn in [the] flesh” (12:6–9), Paul affirmed, “I delight in weaknesses . . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).
In 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake and a resulting tsunami took nearly 19,000 lives and destroyed 230,000 homes in the region northeast of Tokyo. In its aftermath, The Nozomi Project, named for the Japanese word for “hope,” was born to provide sustainable income, community, dignity, and hope in a God who provides.
Nozomi women sift through the rubble of homes and furnishings to discover broken china shards that they sand and insert into fittings to form jewelry. The jewelry is sold around the world, providing a livelihood for the women while sharing symbols of their faith in Christ.
In New Testament times, it was customary to hide valuables in the unlikely vessels of simple clay pots. Paul describes how the treasure of the gospel is contained in the human frailty of followers of Christ: jars of clay (2 Cor. 4:7). He suggests that the meager—and even at times broken—vessels of our lives actually can reveal God’s power in contrast to our imperfections.
When God inhabits the imperfect and broken pieces in our lives, the healing hope of His power is often more visible to others. Yes, His repair work in our hearts often leaves the scars of cracks. But perhaps those lines from our learning are the etchings in our beings that make His character more visible to others. What areas of brokenness in your life can become pathways for Christ’s strength?
Dear God, please show others Your power as I share the treasure of Your gospel in my broken, but beautiful life.