“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.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NLT).
We’ve all heard the amusing story about the man who falls over a cliff and grabs a branch on the face of the cliff to break his fall. As he is hanging from the branch, he calls up toward heaven, “If anybody is up there, help me!” Suddenly a voice booms down from heaven, “LET GO OF THE BRANCH!” The man hanging from the branch thinks about it for a moment and then calls out, “Is anybody else up there?”
While this amusing tale demonstrates a profound principle about faith, its profundity often gets lost in the irony of the man’s response (though it’s not so unlike how many of us would respond to the situation).
The truth is, faith is more about letting go than holding on, more about being broken than getting it together, more about giving up than having our way.
Faith is more about what I don’t understand about God than what I do understand!
The Apostle Paul says that we are storing the great treasure of God’s redemptive power in fragile clay jars! It’s like trying to secure the biggest diamond in the world in a cigar box! It would require more powerful protection than the cigar box could provide, so you post a 24/7 armed security detail to guard the diamond.
So, we sometimes try to protect the treasure God has given by our own power, ourselves, our fragile clay jars . We must get ourselves out of the way and let God’s security detail take over. We must let go of our own will and yield to God’s will for the power of God to be deployed in our lives.
Then, does having faith mean that we just sit around and do nothing because God will handle everything?
Yes, except there is something for us to do…
Most of us have to work full-time at the “letting go” part of the equation because we want to plan and organize and control every aspect of our lives. But, we don’t have a contingency plan when bad things happen and when trouble or tragedy strikes, we are at a loss to explain how God could let this happen.
Paul suggests that it is in our vulnerability, our fragile faith, that Christ’s power is manifested in our lives: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair…We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies” (vs. 8-10).
As the well-known maxim so succinctly, yet perceptively, declares: Let go and let God!