I just turned 31 this past July. It was a good birthday, celebrated with friends and family.
But for me, anything after 29 is just
a reminder of how I old I’m getting.
This year was a prompt notice that I was no longer in my prime. I’ve always enjoyed playing basketball, but I slowed down heavily after my wife and I got married and moved to Georgia. Part of the reason: it was harder to find people and places to play in a smaller city.
So, after three years of not being fully active, I was thrilled to start again when we moved to Austin. But one thing I didn’t take into account was how long it had been since I had played consistently. My body doesn’t recover nearly as quickly anymore. For my 31st birthday present to myself, I got the experience of having an ACL tear.
Not the present I was hoping for, but,
I will say, experience is a great teacher.
My initial response was to downplay my injury, thinking it was just a bad sprain that would take a few weeks to heal. After getting the results of my MRI, the doctor made the confirmation that it was in fact a tear and I would have to go through surgery, physical therapy, and wait nine months before I could start playing again. I was less than thrilled and, honestly, a little upset that this happened to me.
I was asking God,
why does this season of
life have to be SO tough?
We still have a home in Georgia that has to sell, we’re paying two mortgages, paying rent, and making car payments—along with all the expenses of relocating to a new state. We live in a “box” apartment, with all our belongings packed up, taking up most of the space. We’e going through several treatments in order to start a family and, to top it all off, we have one more thing to take care of with my “gimp knee,” as my wife likes to call it.
In the midst of thinking about the worst,
God was prompt to respond with his word,
reminding me how valuable these experiences are.
For the last few weeks, I have been reading from the book of Acts and seeing the humbling example of the life of Paul. Though there are multiple passages in Acts that share these accounts, there is one specifically in 2 Corinthians that summarizes it well:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. | 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18
Check back next time for Jars of Clay | Part 2, when we go over the explanation of this passage from Paul on how we may identify as frail and weak on the outside but are storehouses of the treasure of God on the inside!