I like to make up riddles in my head, and then try to solve them (yes…the life of an awkward black girl). One riddle I revisited was “which one holds more water: a new bowl or a cracked one?” Obviously, a new bowl is manufactured to contain items and keep them in a secure environment. New bowls also can hold more liquids without risk of spills or leaks. New bowls probably have a higher price value as well, with a higher price tag because of its quality compared to a bowl that is all cracked up.
Yes, if you frame the question based on the appearance of the two, a bowl with no cracks is more desirable. And often, that is how we just each other or ourselves. The internal struggle of “do I look like a Christian, today?” can serve as both a conviction and a condemnation, depending on perspective. When we fail challenges, tests and temptations, it is not uncommon to question our ability to perform what God created us to do. We attempt to regain our “newness” again, in the hopes that we will become more valuable once the blemishes are gone.
But what happens when we shift the focus away from FUNCTIONALITY and turn it into CAPABILITY. Even when we rule ourselves out as dis-functional based on our actions, God constantly reminds us that we are capable of still being used for His will and purpose. I can think of quite a few times where I had disobeyed God and while reconnecting with Him, I still had to pour into someone (or something) else. Sure…I had cracks and my sins often made me very transparent for the world to see my struggles. But without such holes, no one would be able to see how I overcame my obstacles through the grace of God. This is why 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 is one of my favorite passages:
“7 …we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 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. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
How powerful is that! “We always carry around…the death of Jesus, that that the life of Jesus may ALSO be revealed in our body.” Just like us, Jesus suffered wounds, too–and they were on display for all to see. But one of the miraculous things about my Savior is that without those wounds, He would not have bled; without His blood shedding, He would not have died; without His death, I would not have been saved. Physically and spiritually, we will face persecution for our obedience as well as negative consequences for our disobedience; both will leave scars. But wounds merely reveal a war–it does not mean defeat.
Remaining operable in spite of cracks is only possible because of God. Our very few moments of “perfection” are nowhere near as important as our moments of brokenness, because when we’re broke, we must seek a specialist to fix us so we can still operate. God wants more than anything for us to seek His expertise in mending souls, repairing ripped hearts, and sewing detached spirits. In His infinite wisdom, He reminds us that we are still loved when fractured, and can be productive, even when He is our crutch.
So the answer to my riddle of “which one holds more water: a new bowl or a cracked one?” is….(drumroll)…a new bowl. But my purpose is not to retain water, but to release it. Focus less on looking the part. Thank God that He can use you…even when you feel you are falling a part.
From one cracked pot to another…