My sister Jessica is one of the best people I know. She is kind-hearted, loving, extremely intelligent, well-educated, a great wife to her husband, and an amazing Mom to her four children. She is a great sister and friend. She also has a penchant for saying really, really funny things. As I said, she is very intelligent, yet, occasionally, she will say something before she has fully thought it through. To be fair, I think we all do the same thing from time to time. I think her sweetness and innocent persona are part of what makes it so amusing when she says some of these things. It would be par for the course for someone like….um, me!
I have heard great things about the Emmaus Walk. My mother and Jessica have both told me great things about their experiences while participating in the walk and over the entire weekend. The Emmaus Walk is designed as a three-day immersion into a deeper, more grace-filled, intimate relationship with Jesus and with other participants (the church). There is singing, discussions, reflection time, time in small groups, communion, and lots of fun and laughter. Sometimes there may be even more laughter than originally intended.
For the three days that Jessica participated in the Emmaus Walk journey, one of the themes that really resonated with her was the idea that God is the Potter and we are the clay. There are several references to this in Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and in the New Testament, Romans. Here is one of those references.
“Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. Jeremiah 18:6
One of the people who spoke over the weekend referenced the fact that God called Himself the Potter and us His clay. She said that as much as we want to be perfect, there are often cracks or flaws, but that God uses these “cracks” to allow His living water to seep out to others.
Toward the end of the weekend, Jessica was asked to share with the group. There were about 150 people in the audience. Jessica, like many people, is not a huge fan of speaking in front of large groups. But she knew that God had really impressed on her the need to be vulnerable. She really believed that in sharing our weaknesses and being transparent, that we could really be a conduit of God’s grace to others. So, when it was time to deliver her inspirational message she stood before 150 fellow Emmaus Walkers and said, “We all need to show our cracks!” There was audible laughter around the room as she realized what she had said. She re-phrased it and made her point eloquently from there on. That said, I believe that the group probably remembered her message much better as a result of her unique delivery.
Jessica was on to something though. We do need to “show our cracks.” How many people never want to step foot in a church because they believe that everyone there “has it all together.” Or, worse yet, people there act like they have it all together, but everyone else knows it’s not true. I know that for me, when I realize that I’m not the only one who often struggles, it is very freeing and encouraging. I’ve often told my family and friends, “God isn’t shocked at our sinfulness. He gave Himself up for us knowing full well who we are and what is in our hearts, and the things that we would do.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
The Bible teaches us that healing can come when we confess our sins to one another.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16
The context for this verse is in regard to praying for healing and other aspects of effective prayer. One of the things that is necessary for this healing to occur is the confessing of sins to one another. Apparently, there is something really important about being without pretense when we come to God, and to others with whom we have relationship. Paul made it a point to let those to whom he wrote know that he too struggled with sin, calling himself the “chief of sinners,” (1 Tim. 1:15). He also wrote the following that I think anyone of us could have written regarding our own struggles.
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Romans 7:15, 19
So, I want to encourage you as Jessica encouraged me, to put aside any pretense of “having it all together.” With discretion, choose people who can be trusted and get real. For real healing, growth and freedom to occur we’re gonna have to let our cracks show.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.