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Day 5 – Jars of Clay

Whether we feel ready or not, the Lord doesn’t wait until we have it all together before He puts us to work. If He really does choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, then I must have looked pretty foolish when I started in ministry! In those days the delivery of my message was unpolished, and I sang the same songs over and over again using only background tracks, a keyboard, and a violin.

Even in those humble beginnings, though, I began to dream about what God could do through me. I remember asking myself what I would regret not doing if I had only one year left to live. I then remembered a picture I had made in ninth-grade social studies class. It was the cover of a report about Ireland simply crafted from construction paper. Decorated with pictures cut from one of my father’s National Geographic magazines (without him knowing, of course!), this faded green memento was the physical representation of a childhood dream.

As a little girl, I was enchanted by the cultures of Great Britain and Ireland. I could even imagine myself being there when I saw pictures of those fascinating, faraway lands. As I thought about the rest of my life, I knew that something within would mourn if I lived life and never set foot on those islands across the pond. So, on a three-by-five card I wrote the words, “Ministry in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales,” and for the next three years I carried that card with me everywhere I went! Eventually it became worn and tattered, but as impossible as this dream seemed, I continued to pray daily that God would make a way for it to become reality.

Then out of the blue one day I received an e-mail from some Christian musicians in England who had heard my music. They learned of my heart for their nation and invited me to come share His love with the British people. So after three years of praying, waiting, and believing the words on my card, I packed my bags for London with a violin on my back and a seventy-pound keyboard in tow!

One of my first concerts in England was in a small church in the city of Coventry. This city had been bombed into utter devastation during World War II and had a high rate of homelessness, drug addiction, alcoholism, and suicide. On the day of my performance, the church took a van into the city and picked up homeless men and women by offering them a meal if they would attend the concert. So that night I found myself on a tiny stage facing a reluctant audience that smelled faintly of alcohol and not so faintly of body odor!

However, the atmosphere of the room changed when I picked up the violin and began to play. A hush fell across the audience, and tears flowed freely. A man sitting in the front row stared intently at me and was first in line for prayer when the music finally ended. “I’ve been an atheist my whole life, but something happened tonight. I don’t understand it, but somehow I know God is real!” he said. This man had come only for a meal but received so much more! He gave his heart to the Lord that night and was given a new life.

Next in the prayer line was a man and his twelve-year-old daughter. He explained that she was losing her hearing and the doctors were baffled. Speaking on her behalf, he emphatically stated, “She believes that Jesus will heal her if you pray.”

I remember thinking to myself, Well, that’s probably not going to happen, but people are watching. How can I refuse to pray for her? So I placed my hands on the girl’s ears and asked the Lord to touch her through me. As I prayed, it felt like a million volts of electricity passed through us, causing me to fall backward and land on the floor!

Astonished, I stood up and exclaimed, “Get away from me! . . . I am a sinful woman. I am not worthy!” Later I remembered that Peter had uttered something similar when he realized he was in the presence of Jesus, the Christ (see Luke 5:8). At that moment there was such intense holiness around the girl that I knew she had been healed.

Several weeks later her parents e-mailed me verification from the doctors showing that, indeed, her hearing had been restored. Absolutely no one was more surprised by her healing than me! If God could perform miracles through my hands, surely He could use anyone. That night the Lord used a broken lady to shine His healing power into broken lives in a broken city. All He asked of me was to show up and be willing.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:6–7 NIV)

The Greek word for the phrase “jars of clay” in this passage is the word ostrakinos, which describes the most common everyday pottery used in that society. Often unglazed, it was full of imperfections and of little value. Yet ordinary vessels are the very ones God chooses to use. The Lord delights in bringing His glory through broken people who know they are nothing without Him. When we give ourselves to the Lord just as we are, He will use us to bring His light into the darkest of places.

Father, I offer myself to You just as I am. Bring Your light into my darkness that You might bring Your light through my darkness! Use my jar of clay to display Your glory today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  1. Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer and a murderer, and Gideon was a coward. Why does God delight in using people who have failed miserably?
  2. What does poor in spirit mean to you? What is the difference between humility and low self-esteem?
  3. How can we become vessels that God will use more effectively?