A few months ago, one of my dearest girlfriends was feeling a bit under the weather. Now I am not the most domestic in the kitchen but there are a couple of dishes she is fond of so I thought it might be the perfect pick me up if I took dinner to her. So food in tow I headed to her home to deliver a meal.
A few weeks later I swung by her house and she had some of my dishes ready to pick up. When I arrived she had a funny kind of look on her face and admitted that she had a confession. “When I was washing the lid to you covered dish, I accidentally dropped it and it shattered when it hit the ceramic tile.”
My friend is an avid garage sale/flee market/estate auction enthusiast and she wasted no time combing through every sale listed in the papers to replace my small casserole lid. She found several coverings and she just knew one would be perfect but to her disappointment the best fit was close but obviously not the ideal fit she hoped it would be.
When she explained all she went through to fix the broken lid issue, the first thought that went through my mind is “What in the world did I do in this life to deserve a friend so loving and kind.” While she was obviously concerned about the accident, I was touched beyond words that she would search high and low to replace that silly old lid.
With a good laugh and a hug I took home my dish with its new misfit covering.
I have washed that dish for the last 27 years and each time it was just another dirty dish to wash. But now I wash my dinnerware with its oddball lid and I just grin from ear to ear.
This imperfection is the perfect reminder of the never-ending love of a true friend. Instead of enduring what would be a tedious chore, I am overwhelmed with feeling of immeasurable love toward me. This bowl and lid have a special purpose, if only to remind me to smile and to concentrate on my blessings vs. the list of things I could choose to complain about.
This imperfect container is the perfect reminder that God expects and uses me to serve in spite of my weakness. I am no more than an imperfect vessel serving through my limitations and yet our God desires us to serve with confidence, faith, and trust that he is totally by our side.
In Paul’s speech to the Corinthians, he explains so movingly the strength of grace through our weakness. I can only imagine the relief he felt when he came to grips with this reality. His words touch my heart.
If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I would still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I will spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything me other than the fool, you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk. Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I would not get the big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angels did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first, I did not think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began to appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker it get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (MSG)
Lord my prayer is that you consistently remind me that it is never necessary to have it “all together” or “just right” to serve you. Open my mind and ears so that I may hear and feel when you are nudging me. Give me O Lord a willing and servant’s heart. I pray when this day passes that I have not missed an opportunity you have given me to share your love and to ease and comfort the journey for a struggling soul. Help me know that this is only possible through your strength and accept my personal limitations with grace.