So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NRSV)
Regina K. Carson lives in Virginia. She loves to walk on the beach looking for seashells. When she was younger, she dreamed of discovering a perfect conch or whelk. In all her days of beach combing, however, she saw mostly chipped scallops, common cockles, barnacle-infested oysters, and pieces of once-whole whelks. As she has gotten older, she has come to appreciate the small, smooth pieces that roll in with the waves. The purple and cream ones are her favorite, but there are also lovely pinks, browns, blacks, and even iridescent golds. Worn by tides, and times, they are not the vessels they once were. Instead, they have become beautiful in a new way.
Like those shells, Regina is not now what she once was. Aging, illnesses, and extensive dental surgery have changed her physical appearance. Yet, because of God's abiding love and guidance, she still has value and beauty. Her earthen vessel may not be as young as it once was, but she takes comfort in knowing that she is an ever-evolving creation. We are reminded that "We have this treasure in clay pots so that the awesome power belongs to God and doesn't come from us" (2 Cor. 4:7, CEB). No matter our physical changes, our actions can speak of God's power and renewing presence in our lives.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for abiding with us through life's gales. Help us to become new creations in you so that others can see the power of your love, in Jesus' name, amen.