Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jelly glass or Waterford Crystal?

Do you know how to tell when a crystal glass is highest quality? You thump it with your finger and listen carefully. If all you get back is a "thud" from your thump, then it's probably the quality of a jelly glass - just plain and ordinary. But if what you hear is the tinkle of a clear bell sound, then the more beautiful the song the glass "sings," the more exquisite the quality of the piece in your hand.

Lately my life has had some amazing, on-going challenges. I'm finding myself weary in the process of just living. Just getting through the day consumes a huge amount of energy. I feel so like a jelly glass - and a pretty empty one at that! I don't want to be in "thud mode." "Thud mode" is a dead-end street until I consider that being in "thud mode" just might be an opportunity to show what I'm like deep inside.

Like the most beautiful leaded crystal, the process of getting there is somewhat arduous but the result is beautiful. The finest crystal sparkles brightly and may even pick up the rainbow spectrum of light. It "rings” when struck when it's the real thing!

You have the thuds and thumps of life, too: the bottom that falls out of a box, the spilled glass of milk, notice of an IRS audit, flat tires, burnt toast (or, in my case, burnt hard-boiled eggs last week - three of them! Ugh!). These things catch us by surprise and when they pile up, it is easy to be buried. There is a long list of these "thuds" - stalls in traffic, a long line in the grocery store, clean but unfolded clothes, the "tyrrany of the urgent" and the list goes on!

Yesterday a friend stopped by and saw some of my "thuds" - my piles of paper and receipts I was sorting thru and my unfolded clothes. She said she wished her guy could see my stuff as then she might get more of a pass. My pride makes me ashamed to be so behind, but there is comfort in knowing a friend understands because she's been there, too.

Jesus said that it's what's in the heart that matters. He said what we say and do comes from the character of who we are. (Luke 6:45) Thumps and thuds get down to who we really are. They expose the real us, and often the thumps and thuds come so quickly that what we are slips out before we can sqush it back down or whip on our mask.

We can learn from the thumps and thuds of life if we have the courage to ask God to reach deep into our hearts and bring change where it matters most: in heart restoration. Then when the thuds and thumps of life come (AND THEY WILL !), we will know there's purpose to those thuds and thumps putting them to work at prodding you and me to work hard on heart restoration - to let God do His work deeply and surely to build His character into our hearts. THEN - and only then - is there hope for jelly glasses. It's that restoration process that makes the crystal "sing" eventually!

In the world of jelly glasses, there's no hope for change. In people there is always hope of restoration! In people that's how God takes "jelly glasses" and turns them into fine crystal through His process of restoration. God even makes us a promise: All thumps and thuds can work together for our good and God's glory when we seek Him first and love Him deeply from the heart! (my paraphrase of Rom. 8:28)

It's the thumps and thuds along with God's work of restoration that can turn jelly glasses (like me) into works of beauty that sing above all the thumps and thuds. I want to be Waterford crystal not a jelly glass, and I'm a work in process.

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