I have to ask, What is the cost?
Often, I've said that God's gift in the trauma of life is perspective. When "the worst" happens, life carries on. If the very ground beneath is shaken, the true foundation proves unshakeable. And, because nothing in this earthly life can be trusted during those times, God proves all the more trustworthy.
But, how will we ever learn these beautiful truths if we carefully orchestrate and organize life so that nothing bad could ever happen? If all of our decisions are made to protect ourselves and others from pain, will we ever come to really know our Savior?
See, in this week alone, I've heard at least three people say, That is my worst nightmare! (By the way, all three "nightmares" were pitifully silly and unworthy of nightmare status!) Granted, this is a common phrase, and many of us use it for the sake of drama rather than reality. I believe, though, that it's the true feeling of the heart in most cases. For most of us, we've determined what would be the worst possible experience, and we spend our days setting up safe lives that protect us from those negative experiences.
The gift of having my heart broken is that Christ proved more than able to piece it back together. The beauty of living a life marked by chaos is learning (through firsthand experience) that God is better at directing a peaceful life than I ever was.
I'm afraid we are protecting ourselves right out of God's best.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7
Jars of clay are fragile! Even the slightest fall could result in devastation. Picture it, because it is the worst nightmare. If we are the jars of clay, worst case scenarios of life threaten to leave us in pieces on the floor. It's ugly. It hurts; and, sometimes it's embarrassing.
But, if the Bible is true, God will never leave us in those pieces. He will put us back together. Our outer covering might always reveal the brokenness. However, when His light shines through the cracks, the jar is brighter, more unique, and maybe even more beautiful. Could we miss this joy by setting up lives that protect us from a blessing?
I can't say that I live with excitement over life's challenges. But, I will say that I live with less fear about them. I want to experience as much of Jesus as I can. Without the bumps and bruises of life, I know I'd miss out on the glory that HE is. And, if I'm going to testify of His goodness to the world, I've got to have some firsthand experience with it for myself.
But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:13