Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Times have been busy and rather painful lately. My husband has been facing some opposition as he labors here in this place. I would love to pour my heart out, to tell you the crazy accusations, to gripe and moan, but I'll refrain. That's why I haven't written on my blog lately; I've been worried my emotions would kidnap my will, and I'd write things that should have never been written.
During this time away, I've been praying, reading, meditating, talking to my husband and trying desperately to make sense of the events of the last two weeks. God has been so good to me. He has taken me by the hand, and led me down a path to restoration and healing. He has not "vindicated" me, He has not, through His word, proven to me that I'm right. Rather, He has used this time to teach me how badly I need Him and how much growing I still have to do.
Since I am in the habit of being transparent, I would like to bare my heart.I have been reading through Paul's epistles in chronological order. I just finished Philippians, and it is no coincidence that my reading a few days ago directed me when I needed it most.
Philippians 3:13-14 Bretheren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I must forget the past - the mistakes of the past, the victories of the past, the pain and sorrow of the past - all of it. While I do not think I will ever literally forget everything from my past, I know I do not have to dwell on it. I can bring those thoughts into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5) and retreat into the arms of my Savior when Satan tempts me to think negative, depressing thoughts. I can purposely plan for the future; thinking about the things that I long to do for my Savior if He gives me the time on Earth to do it.
Philippians 3:18-19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in the their shame, who mind earthly things.)
There is such a thing as people who are so in love with this world, that things with eternal value (souls), do not matter. People who, I fear, are not even saved. Whether saved or not, they are clearly enemies of the cross. These people are everywhere. The Lord convicted me of two things in reading this passage. The first was, am I an enemy of the cross? Is my "belly" my god? I hope not! I want to guard against that! The second thing was that Paul said "now tell you even weeping..." He wasn't angry at these folks, he was heartbroken! Oh, how wicked I am! I get angry at these people, not saddened! I tell you this in shame.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever, things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
When life gets overwhelming and my emotions carry me away into the depths of despair, I can change my thinking - and my talking - to the things that are true (Jesus loves me and is with me no matter what), honest (speaking truth in love is NEVER wrong, even when the truth hurts), just (God is always right and will set things right in HIS time), pure (God's Word is pure, and source of good thoughts!) lovely (My Savior is altogether lovely!), and good report (the souls saved, the souls baptized, the lives changed). There are so many good things to think about, why do I always gravitate toward the negative? Oh! Because I'm a dirty, rotten sinner.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I am to be satisfied with my lot in this life, my place on this earth, and the task God has given me. If the Lord wants me to sit in dust and ashes or in the White House, I should be content and live joyfully for Him. I have failed on this, many times! I often look around at others' ministries, lives, jobs - whatever - and longed to be in their place or doing what they are doing. The truth is, I wouldn't like it even if I could trade places with them! It isn't a "job" problem, it's an attitude problem. When I am looking for the bad, I'll find it, wherever I go. I know I shouldn't compare myself to them because the Bible says that is "unwise". (2 Cor. 10:12)
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.
I look at the above list of my "wrongs" and I know I cannot correct all of these things myself. I am unable to will myself to think right thoughts, to speak right words, and to have the right heart and attitude. Christ must help me. And this verse says He will.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
No matter what happens, my God will take care of me. I cannot be separated from His love! As the song says, "Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a friend! Saving, keeping, loving, HE is with me to the end." Even if I lose my very life, He will guide me safely to my Heavenly home.
I feel as though the Potter has had to break my vessel, so that He can re-make it. The breaking is painful, but necessary. The re-molding isn't comfortable either - my flesh resists the changes He is making - but in the end, it will be worth it. He is giving me a chance to love, truly love the enemies of the cross. I know I will fail, because I have such a wicked heart, but I hope I will come closer than I've ever been before.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. I write to you with heaviness of heart and mind; a great weight pressing down upon me that I would love to run out from under, but cannot. I fall down beneath the load, to look over and see the feet of my Lord. I am not alone! He knows where I am, what I am doing, and what the outcome will be.
Resting in the Potter's Hands,
Valerie (The Bishop's Wife)