If anyone wants a life that is predictable, safe, and simple, I do not recommend Christianity. True Christianity, that is. Jesus ruined my life. I had a good thing going. Then He invaded, and literally no stone has been left unturned in my once peaceful and well-planned out life. And just about the time that my life tries to enter a sweet and comfortable place, in He comes again to stir up the once-stilled waters.
Less than a month ago, I accepted a position to move to South America to be a missionary for a few years. In less than a month, my life has literally turned upside down. I went from having a cozy apartment and a reliable full-time job to a near-empty apartment and the job status of “unemployed”. Today was my last day of work, and once again, reality has hit hard. I texted my friend and said, “I quit my job today. Reality is hitting. I’m scared to death…I kinda want to cry but I’m at Starbucks and that’s probably not socially acceptable.” He responded with some Bible verses that helped me process through some of the things that I am feeling.
Nothing has gone smoothly with this process. Absolutely nothing. If something could go wrong, it has gone wrong. If it hasn’t gone wrong yet, I’m sure that it will. Not only has this whole process been a huge step of faith, but every stumbling block that could be thrown in my way has been flying through the air. I think I have a few bruises on my spirit.
Even things that I thought could not possibly have gone wrong have happened. Probably the easiest thing to do through this whole journey is to get discouraged. And I would be discouraged, if I wasn’t aware of what was really happening. I may not know much about life or why things happen the way they do, but I know enough about spiritual warfare to understand that rather than be discouraged right now, I should be rejoicing in all that I am witnessing.
Satan and I have an interesting un-relationship. Since I was a small child, in a variety of supernatural ways, he has tried to discourage me and claim victory over my life. He taught me lies about myself that I believed for a long time. He has known since the day that I was born that God has big plans for my life in what He desires to do through me, and Satan has wanted for nothing more than to keep me from all that God might do. I struggled for over 10 years with deep depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, suicidal thoughts, etc. I hated who I was, and for a while, Satan had a hold on me that greatly limited what God desired to do in my life.
However, the power that is in Christ is stronger than the darkness of evil, and when His love broke through in my life and I began to understand His truth over the lies that I had believed, so much changed in me. I no longer had to be afraid and I started to realize that God’s salvation and purpose for my life had the power to transform the mess of a person that I had become into the masterpiece that God had planned since the creation of the world.
Lately I have come to recognize the stumbling blocks that have fallen in my way as attacks from the Evil One meant to discourage and deter me from following God and seeing this through. I know how he works, and I used to be terrified. There are still times, like today, when I am tempted to melt into a puddle of fear. However, I also know how God works. I know that He has called me to do this, and I will not back down. My coworkers asked me today, “What happens if you don’t raise the money and you can’t go? What is your plan B?” Honestly, the thought had not even crossed my mind, but the answer I would give them is this: There is no plan B. I am all in. I will follow Christ, and I will trust Him to see this through.
I would like my coworkers to hear these verses from 2 Corinthians 4:7-11: “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. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”
This passage means so much to me at this point for this reason: God chose to live out His purpose through very imperfect people living in a messed up world. I am a jar of clay, easily broken and covered with chips and nicks that reveal a life that has not been easy. Of all the ways that God could show His love to the world, He would choose a jar of clay. He would choose me. Why?
I am not perfect. He is. I am fragile. He is strong. Though it may be obvious to the world that I am the worst possible jar that God could have chosen to fill with His glory, at the end of the day it is increasingly obvious that it is Him and not me that is holding me together. Because His strength fills me, my once fragile being is hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, but not destroyed. I am not crushed beneath the pressures that Satan may bring upon me, because it is the power of God that has won the victory over my life. I do not despair, because my hope is in Christ and not my circumstances. I am never abandoned. No, not ever.
I have found that especially when we are following the will of God and desiring it above all else, the road we are traveling is not remotely easy. Things we never imagined we would encounter along the way seek to destroy our faith. There are many times when we feel that we could not possibly take one more thing. However, when we choose to keep our eyes on Christ, we find that our simple and fragile jar of clay is still filled with His power. We still are held together by God’s strength, and nothing can destroy a jar of clay that knows the heart and hand of its Maker.
I am facing discouraging times right now as I seek to follow the will of my God. Others that I know are struggling as well as the unknown lingers before them on their journey and forces much stronger than them seek to crush them under the weight of discouragement. I want to encourage them with this word from Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” There is absolutely nowhere that we are and nowhere we will go that God will not be walking alongside us, filling us with His strength. Although the future seems daunting and many impossibilities flash before us, we can press on knowing that our God loves making possible what was before impossible. He created the universe out of nothing, and every day He continues to make a way where there used to be no way. He can and will come through in His time in our lives. He loves us with an everlasting love that we could not even begin to understand in a thousand lifetimes. He will not let us fall. He will always provide for His children. This I have found to be true in every circumstance in my life, and I have complete confidence that it will be true in every way in the future.
Keep the faith. God is creating in you a testimony of His faithfulness and glory. Be strong in Him. I pray every day that the love and power of God would be so evident in my life, that those who look at this jar of clay see only the beauty of Christ that is within rather than the rugged insufficiencies of the container. Could I trust Him that much? Although following Christ is by far not an easy road, there is no other road that I would rather be traveling. I long to know Christ and everything He is. I want to know His power and majesty. I want to be found complete in Him. Whatever it takes, Lord, to make me wholly Yours, I surrender. May You be brought glory in my life.