Disappearing Scaffolding & Jars of Clay
a word from canon leighton in the November 26, 2017 Adventurer
When I lived in New York City, I noticed how the neighborhoods would change as buildings took turns getting face lifts. Every few months, scaffolding would appear and disappear in different locations. I felt nervous walking under an active work site, so I was especially aware of my surroundings.
Once, I noticed a line of graffiti scrawled on a scaffold that read, “All I see they cannot take away from me.” More than 15 years later, that phrase still echoes in my mind not because it rhymes but because it is clearly false. I pity the poor soul who thought he could hold on to the material things in his life.
In truth, all the tangible, material aspects of this life could be lost at any moment. In the Bible, Job lost his family, his wealth, and finally his own health. Some of us are currently suffering in dramatic ways like Job, whether we are fighting a losing battle with cancer or rebuilding after a natural disaster; whether our spouse has abandoned us or we must shepherd our young child through a chronic illness.
And perhaps you, like me, experience what I call “low-grade” suffering: bodily aches and pains, constant car trouble, mild depression, never-ending allergies, or the heartache of downsizing from one home to another. Though we know others suffer more greatly, these problems still dominate our time and our mental energy to the point where we are too exhausted to experience joy.
Rather than encouraging Christians to deny or escape from the reality of our suffering, St. Paul shows us that the goodness of God is manifested more clearly in the midst of our troubles. The glory and power of the gospel shine brightly through the frailty of our broken lives like a treasure carried in a jar of clay (2 Cor. 4:7).
Our bodies will eventually die, and we will not be able to hold on to our mate- rial possessions, but if we believe on Jesus, we can claim an inheritance of forgiveness, healing, love, joy, peace, and eternal life. Though all might seem lost, we have been found in Christ, and he will raise us at the last day.