But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
[2 Corinthians 4:7-10, NASB]
These words in 2 Corinthians have spoken to us powerfully since we fully came to faith. We are the earthen vessels, each one of us who know Him, and there is such treasure within; the life in the spirit; the life of our Lord, a tiny seed planted and ready to grow to be a mighty oak ...
WHEN LIFE’S WAVES CRASH OVER US
I once heard the testimony of a Christian pastor who almost died in an accident while surfing. He was standing near the shore when he was struck from behind by a powerful wave. He was then struck by another wave, with such force that his neck was broken. As he lay injured in the water, it was only the quick action of others on the shore that saved his life. Many months followed of having his neck supported within a metal frame before he recovered from his nearly fatal experience.
I’ve remembered the above, as I’ve thought about the way that life’s events can come upon us just like those waves, with such force that we too can feel that we are struggling to hold on. At the end of last year, Gemma and I experienced the painful loss of our little dog Sid who had been such a precious part of our lives for eleven of his fifteen years. That loss came upon us without warning one day, and, like a wave crashing upon us, left us both breathless with its suddenness.
Then, at the beginning of this year, like the second wave which struck that Christian leader, I experienced a far more profound loss, the death of my Dad after a long-drawn-out illness. Coming so close together, both those losses left my heart broken and torn. I still experience times when waves of grief and sorrow come washing over me. Yet, like that Christian leader lifted from the shallows by his rescuers, I too have felt the loving hands of Jesus holding and carrying me through the tears and pain of those times.
Our verses for today’s Seed remind us that we are not exempt from the crushing power of life’s waves and storms, but they also remind us that we are not at their mercy. We have a rescuer who is there to save us from death. We are reminded by the Apostle Paul that the presence of Jesus Himself, living in us by His Holy Spirit, is the treasure in our fragile lives that is often revealed most powerfully in our times of suffering.
Someone reading this Seed today may feel that they have been struck down and knocked off their feet too many times by life’s waves of pain or difficulty. If that’s you, I pray that you will know the arms of Jesus lifting you up and placing your feet afresh on the solid ground of His love and faithfulness. His promise is true for you. Even though you may have been struck down, you will not be destroyed.
Prayer: Precious Lord Jesus, thank You that, when days seem dark and sorrow’s paths I tread, You, my Saviour, still are with me, and by Your hand I’m safely led. Amen.
Today's Writer : Dean Gardner
Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God’s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God’s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.
You will always know whether you believe in God personally by your impertinent insistence on being an amateur providence for someone else.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART