“For God who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-10
When you were a kid, did you run around the neighborhood? Perhaps played in the nearby creek or hopped over rocks and broken paths?
When I was kid, we lived on a naval base and I remember running around the neighborhood by myself often to the nearby creek. I guess you can say from my childhood I was discovering God through nature, yet unaware of my discovery. The creek would have stones laid throughout, creating a broken path. I would walk or hop across the rocks, carefree and childlike.
Today, I sometimes find the path I’m walking on broken. Unlike when I was a kid, I don’t walk this path carefree. I walk it with heavy burdens. If I don’t recognize it and continue to walk the path the burdens fill the vessel God has given me to hold His treasure, the light of Christ, within.
In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of going to confession and how sin can cover our hearts in darkness and can continue to manifest that darkness within us, separating us further from God. I also find connections of this and carrying heavy burdens. When our burdens fill our vessel, it hinders our ability to carry the treasure God gives us and therefore we are unable to shine the light of Christ outward to aid in building God’s kingdom, something we are each created for.
I don’t think the broken paths are necessarily bad. I believe they are there to draw us closer to God. Where we may get into trouble is when we don’t see this as an opportunity to look within and see what God is wanting to mend on that broken path. Some may continue to let the brokenness linger and the burdens grow, further filling the vessel with unwanted “junk”.
I personally don’t want to carry these burdens and I’m certain if you are reading this you don’t either. I encourage you to consider the invitation that God may be presenting to you when you are walking on the broken path and carrying these burdens. Is He asking you to pick up the stone, hold it in your hands, examine it and ponder your feelings surrounding it? Is He asking you to then hand it to Him and let Him fill the gap, the brokenness it has created with His treasure, His love, His grace?
Sometimes when I’m faced with brokenness in my path, I look back at the times that God has filled these gaps and filled me. Sometimes the path seems more shattered. When I allow this brokenness to linger, I find myself spiritually empty. The vessel fills up and God has no space to shine His light within. Personally, recognizing this is crucial for me because it has tremendous affect on other areas in my life. I don’t think wisdom is found from the intellect of math and science. It is found through our journey and awareness of how all things affect each other. What I have discovered is that when my vessel is full of junk, it can have an affect on a number of things, including my relationships with other and my relationship with God. The last thing I am able to do is be a spiritual light for others to help build God’s kingdom.
What steps do we take when we find our path broken? What does that invitation look like? It may look different for each of us and different during the different seasons of our lives. Some things I think that help to discern clarity of the invitation is to start by looking within to see what the feelings are, find quiet time to spend with God asking Him to reveal these feelings, to overturn this rock and give you direction. Perhaps that direction may lead you to confession, to forgiveness. May be it’s just God helping you to understand what it is, refining you and refueling you. In some cases, it just may be down time, rest in Him that He is calling you to.
Whatever you may be faced with today or tomorrow, accept God’s invitation in those moments to uncover the relationship He desires with you.