I sat in the cafe, just me at my table with my coffee and pretty frosted vanilla cupcake and my good Christian book in hand. I had read and reread the same paragraph over. I was distracted by the clanging noise of a loud gong at the table next to me. I recognised this sound that came above the general chatter because I make that same irritatingly ugly sound so often myself.
A woman was sat opposite her man at 9.15am. I sit and sneer because of my fear, at the worldly beauty view of fake tan, figure revealing clothes, hair and makeup done, looking ready for a night out rather than toast and eggs at breakfast. The groan of her tongue as she spoke with tones of annoyance and judgments on others were anything but beautiful.
I may be in my plain, no skin showing clothes with shower wet hair and a naked face, but I’m sat very well clothed in my self-righteousness of judgment, making that droning clanging noise. Mine though was quietly in my head, hidden in my heart unknown to others while I try to pose an air of holiness. Happy in it’s stench my own annoyance and disapproval made me stand up and leave to find somewhere more quiet and refined to read.
I though should have known better. I should have been different.
I know to trust in His quiet words of grace than to give in to the shouts of the struggles of my heart. I should be salt and light proclaiming freedom that beams from my heart. Not binding the weight of chains around my fellow mankind who are created in His image, just so I can feel better about myself.
But you know? Although I fail this over one more time and one more time again, oh and again. More and more there is a Light, who through the fractures of my brokenness is shining the ugly into beauty, refining it into dignity and smiling Yahweh breaths of freedom that speaks His tender love into others hearts to show them a different way.
So lady in the cafe, I am sorry as I looked down on you, as I judged you through my insecurities that a woman against woman brings. You see, I know One whose love for me means my identity should be so secure that my heart should never feel the need to look at you as anything but a work of art being continually formed in the Author of life’s hands. I should have looked at you in hope that you may sense the truth of that yourself, so it will lead you to find a life of true beauty that’s eternal in Him. Instead of having you tripping over me and my issues. I should be clearing your path and cheering you on straight to Him.
I should have been different.
Later that day I saw another woman looking at me with the same tension I looked at you with. I made a different choice. I didn’t trust in things that could be seen but in things that are unseen. I took a risk and held her eye and smiled into the depths of it. His light touched her, her body released and she smiled back to me.
And because His grace never stops working miracles in me, that are not miracles at all to Him but as simple as a hand taking hold of another hand and leading the way, I am able to put aside me, so that there could only be the the light of Him. And there between her and I was peace and a glimmer of true beauty.
2 Corinthians 4
Spiritual Treasure in Clay Pots
4 God in his mercy has given us this work to do, and so we do not become discouraged. 2 We put aside all secret and shameful deeds; we do not act with deceit, nor do we falsify the word of God. In the full light of truth we live in God’s sight and try to commend ourselves to everyone’s good conscience. 3 For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. 4 They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 5 For it is not ourselves that we preach; we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ.
7 Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us. 8 We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9 there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. 10 At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies. 11 Throughout our lives we are always in danger of death for Jesus’ sake, in order that his life may be seen in this mortal body of ours. 12 This means that death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 The scripture says, “I spoke because I believed.” In the same spirit of faith we also speak because we believe. 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us up with Jesus and take us, together with you, into his presence. 15 All this is for your sake; and as God’s grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving.
Living by Faith
16 For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. 17 And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. 18 For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.