“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
Many times in the Bible, we are pictured as clay in the Potter’s hands. He shapes us into the vessels that will be useful for His purposes, and through us, He pours out blessings to others. Sometimes, our sinfulness makes us unfit for the work He has planned. In those cases, God reshapes us:
“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” (Jeremiah 18:4)
And sometimes the vessels need to be broken in order to serve God’s purposes. Remember the story of Gideon? Facing impossible odds (about 426:1), Gideon armed his men with trumpets and torches hidden in clay jars and had them surround the Midianites. At his signal, all the men blew the trumpets, broke the jars and shined their torches. The noise and the sudden light sent the Midianites into such confusion that they began to fight each other, and the battle was won for Gideon’s men.
What’s interesting to me about the story is that it is our story. Gideon has his men hide their lit torches in the jars. It’s a wonderful picture of the Christian. We are the fragile clay jars, and Christ is the light inside us. As long as we stay “whole,” His light doesn’t shine. As long as we pretend that we’ve got it all together… As long as we refuse to admit our weaknesses… As long as we fail to be honest about our struggles… we hide the light.
But when we are broken… Ah, that’s different! We become real to a hurting world. We become accessible to those who always thought we were “perfect.” We become useful in the Potter’s hands. When Job was deep in his misery, it wasn’t his friends with all the right answers that were a comfort to him; it was a broken piece of pottery (Job 2:8).
God can’t use our wholeness, but His strength and glory shine through our brokenness. It is only when we are broken that the full light of Jesus Christ shines through to a world struggling in the darkness. Our battles are won not through our fragile strength but through allowing God to use us fully in whatever way seems best to Him. That means we have to share our fears, our uncertainties, our needs, our hurts and our hearts.
So, the question is…Are we willing to allow ourselves to be broken in order to win the battle?