Monday, April 29, 2013

Open Jars

On these once-a-year Texas trips, I catch myself feeling “paused”.

Not paused in the sense of things slowing down… Not that at all.
My “normal life” feels paused.
No little brown babies filling my arms, no shacks or hungry bellies, no bumpy roads or punctured tires.

Wee-hour morning routines with my Beloved are distorted by jet lag and house-hopping.

I come here, and I talk about there.
I talk about promises and plans for there.
And I cry when I dream about them there.
And I stomp when I realize they’re here too.

I shout, “WHAT IS THIS!?!” when this country, founded on freedom and justice, runs on emergency mode – and when that country, fertile and extravagant, withers away in corrupted poverty.

And then I think about when the Israelites shouted, “WHAT IS THIS!?!”
They didn’t understand either.

They were lost in a desert.
An old guy with a convicted felony and a speech impediment was the ringleader.
And they were hungry. (I shout when I’m hungry too.)

It was manna. It was a miraculous wilderness provision. (Exodus 16)
Manna literally means, “What is this?”
A miraculous mystery meal for the hungry, meant to be consumed completely and one day at a time.

Weary exiles worried that the miracle they had seen and tasted would be a one-time wonder. So they hid manna leftovers in a jar and sealed it tight. After only twenty-four hours of their doubtful disobedience, the One with mysterious ways filled those manna jars with maggots.

He says that today’s miracle is to be consumed today.
Today’s glory is all for today… because forever’s is even better.

There’s no pausing the ways of an unfathomable Creator.

Texas time is not just an in-between. No place and no time is just an in-between.

The manna tastes like Tex-Mex and sounds like beautiful worship in my very own home church. I can’t take the queso, and the songs sound different in South Africa. But I have to keep this jar open and believe it’ll be filled with a miracle for today.

As hungry as I get for hope when I’m there, I can’t hide today’s away and hope it stays fresh until I get there.

I want to live with the lid off.

Jars left open were the places where the miracles happened.

Emptying their last jar for the Lord’s prophet during a drought kept a family alive by a jar that would not run out until the rains came. (1 Kings 17)

The neighbors’ lended, empty jars overflowed with miracle oil that paid off a widow’s debt. (2 Kings 4)

Emptied jars and poor party-planning became Jesus’ first miracle and the best wine at the wedding. (John 2)

A jar lowered into a well invited an untouchable woman into eternal life. (John 14)

A precious, broken jar anointed the Savior for His burial. (Mark 14)

Holy vessels are open jars… meant to spill, fill and be emptied.
Meant to hold a miracle everyday.
Even while we crave, commute, and await the Promised Land.

One day’s jar will fill and spill with justice.
One day’s with a place called Glory House – a roof over redeemed little heads.
One day’s with birth certificates for the unnamed and unknown.
One day’s with healing, every tear wiped away by a holy hand.

Let’s not seal them tight while we wait.
Miracles rot if they don’t spill and fill and flow.
Today’s jar will be filled with salt-water, soul-cleansing worship.
And that’s more than enough.

Jesus, let me be an open jar, overflowing with your goodness and glory. Filled or emptied, let me stay open and aware.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

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