7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Yesterday, Saturday 15 November 2014, I was at the Premier Radio Woman to Woman Conference at Central Methodist Hall, Westminster.
I was on the Compassion stand with Laura, who is now working in the Engage Team with Rebecca at Compassion UK and who lives in Kingston. She told me that she attends a Methodist Church in Kingston on Sundays. As she described where it was, I was reminded that the building had played an important part in my testimony when I was first born again.
I had not realised that I had not already blogged about this, but I believe the Holy Spirit was reminding me so that I would relate the story.
In 1994 I had stood (completely traumatised by my marriage break up) on a green area in Kingston upon Thames known as The Fairfield and was looking at three buildings. On the left was the GP practice where I was registered, in the centre an ordinary house, and on the right the Methodist Church. I felt God say to me as I was looking at those three buildings “Where will you go for your healing – you can go to the GP and have pills and potions like your mother and sister, or you can go to the Church”.
I said “No contest” – having seen the evidence presented by my mother and sister’s care under the NHS – “I choose The Church”. This was symbolic of Jesus working through members of His church in general, rather than being that actual church. And, it was at this time when my life fell apart, that I was born again.
God also told me that the part the GP practice was to play was to diagnose sickness, but the part The Church was to play was to heal people of that sickness. And this is certainly what has happened in my own life. As the Holy Spirit led me to churches that believe that God heals today, I received healing and my mind is now fully functioning again; in fact it is functioning better than it was before I was born again!
I believe God is saying that He doesn’t just want to heal me, but by the same principle He wants everyone to receive healing, by trusting in Him. He created us and He knows exactly how we should function.
In the words of the traditional wedding vows, it feels like God has promised me that He will “have and hold me for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish”; but that not even death will part us. WOW. I have gone through and I will go through better and worse, riches and poverty, sickness and health, but He is with me in it all. In the words of
Philippians 4:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)
12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
And, back to that Methodist Church on the Fairfield in Kingston upon Thames. Before I was born again, I am reminded I had gone to the church hall there to give blood – and that is about saving our natural lives, however we will all eventually die; but now my Saviour, Jesus Christ, has saved my soul and given me real life -eternal life.
I remember that at the time of being born again the Holy Spirit spoke to me of how God had hidden great treasure in me, but that until I was broken I did not realise what treasure was hidden in this “jar of clay”. Several years later I did actually enter the Methodist Church in Kingston and was amazed to see a banner with a picture of a Jar of Clay on it relating to the scripture at the head of this blog.
In the intervening years I had been to the Methodist Church in Leatherhead a few times for prayer meetings and saw the same scripture being played out in thinking of the building as representing a jar of clay and the chairs in all their different colours representing treasure.
And, how interesting and encouraging that after Laura and I had our little chat about the Methodist Church in Kingston upon Thames we went into the Auditorium at Central Methodist Hall, Storeys Gate, Westminster at the Woman to Woman Conference to hear Danielle Strickland speak of how we are warriors in a battle, but how we are carrying God’s glory and the light of the gospel in our clay jars.