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“If only I could walk again!” This is the cry from the heart of a friend in her wheelchair, months after suffering a head injury. Likewise, this was the cry from the heart of the invalid who was lying at the pool of Bethesda for the umpteenth time, hoping for the miracle of healing. What joy it must have been when Jesus told him: “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” (John 5:8 The Message) He not only picked up his bedroll and started to walk, he ended up in trouble with the religious authorities because of it!

One would think that it would be unimaginable for him to later seek the perceived safety of his bedroll (the symbol of his illness) to wallow in self-pity when he finds himself facing another, totally different, trial. Wouldn’t it be just as foolish for me, when exhaustion and discouragement threaten to overwhelm me, to start yearning for my previous place of misery – ending up “parking” myself anew in that “familiar” place?

Shouldn’t I rather realise that, like 2000 years ago at Bethesda, I have actually seen something of the wonderful light of the glory of God in the face of the Lord Jesus. As a follower of Christ, I might be just an “[unworthy] earthen vessel [of human frailty]”, but I am filled with the light and the all-surpassing greatness of my Heavenly Father. In his almighty, loving hands I can be an influencer, making a difference when I skip down the street, telling others: “Jesus has touched me – and He wants to do the same for you!”

It is not about self-confidence, but a growing confidence in God, who has touched me and given me a new life. There is no more need for me to find my identity in the pain and disappointment of the past. With a brand-new confidence and love I can rebuild relationships, rebuild my life. Even though I am just an unworthy pot of clay, God’s light, his love and power, is at work in and through me. I don’t need an emotional “wheelchair” – He Himself is now my new “safe place.”

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)

Afrikaans version here

– Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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