But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2Co_4:7-9)
New covenant servants (followers of Jesus Christ) are “earthen vessels” (ordinary clay pots). Yet, in the container of their redeemed humanity dwells “this treasure” (the Son of God Himself). This arrangement calls for the treasure (Jesus), not the vessels (you and me) to be the object of all trust and the recipient of all glory: “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” Appropriately, the Lord has also arranged a process that magnifies the treasure.
This process involves the every day pressures of life, which come from all sides. “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed.” Clay pots cannot withstand much pressure, but the treasure within us (Christ) is able to keep is from being smashed. “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2Ti_2:1)
The process that draws attention to the treasure also involves many perplexities. “We are perplexed, but not in despair.” We face difficult decisions and impossible issues, but our Wonderful Counselor protects us from hopelessness: “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col_2:3).
Persecutions are included in the process: “persecuted, but not forsaken.” People accuse us, misunderstand us, or lie about us. Still, we know we are not abandoned by our Lord who lives within us. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ ” (Heb_13:5).
Even catastrophes are a part of the process that magnifies the treasure who indwells us: “struck down, but not destroyed.” Circumstantial upheavals and overwhelming heartaches occur, but the Lord stabilizes our souls, so we don’t “tip over” under the weight of circumstances. “They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support” (Psa_18:18).
Thus, life comes at us like an overpowering military tank, ready to flatten us. There is no natural hope, because clay pots can’t handle tanks. Yet, as the dust clears, the flower pot of our lives can remain intact (if we are trusting in the able and faithful one who lives in our hearts). There is no attacking tank that can overcome the Lord Jesus Christ. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1Jo_4:4).
Lord Jesus, You are my indwelling treasure. When pressures, perplexities, persecutions, or catastrophes come my way, teach me to trust in You. When others ask how I am sustained through these difficulties, remind me to give all glory and honor to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.