Funny how God teaches us about life. Sometimes He teaches through His Words in the Bible, sometimes He teaches through someone else’s life or testimony, or He can choose the most special, most effective (and most of the time, the hardest) one; teaches us through our lives.

I’ve been good at running. No, not physically running, have never been a sporty, anyway. What I meant was running from problems. When I saw a problem that I sensed would demand a lot of work from me, physically and/or emotionally, I would simply apply the mantra; ignorance is bliss. Let that be about my family, my loved ones, friends, acquaintances, church, community, yada yada, unless I do really care for them. If you want to learn on how not to care, you might gain something from me. I’m genuinely not proud of it, but at times this attribute of mine have proved to be effective. There were some cases where my lack of response prevented the situation from becoming explosive, damaging. Unresolved, probably, but at least it didn’t cause any prolonged harm. Or so I thought. 

Until I was slammed into some problems with ‘a point of no return’ tag attached to them. I’m trapped, so to speak. I tried to turn my best trick at first, I even ran away from God because I knew what He would’ve asked of me if I stayed. But when I realised that it just didn’t work, it dawned on me. Finally, I had to face my demon. I had to care. I had to, or I would lose everything.

God told me a story of a cracked vessel years ago, when He first revealed Himself to me. This vessel made out of clay was carrying perfumed oil. The perfumed oil was going to be used to anoint people, to bless them. But in order for the oil to reach others, the vessel has to be cracked. It has to be damaged. But no need to worry, the Potter Himself will fix the vessel with His special clay, so the vessel will be back to its perfect form. But when the time comes for the oil to come out, the vessel will have to be cracked again. 

Sometimes we have to go through that cracking stage in order for God to use us. He doesn’t do it to hurt us, but He does it so that His purpose and plans become perfect and His glory is revealed. Ever since He told me about this, He cracked me so many times. But as you have read at the start, most of the time I chose to run away. Reaching out and care for others could hurt me, and I didn’t want any part of it. I ended up hurting Him, because I refused to love Him by loving others. 

But no He didn’t give up on me. When I was exhausted from running, and in shame I came back to Him, all He did was loving me, wrapping me in His loving arm. God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, is answering me when I call. He satisfies my soul, quenches my thirst, and shares His secrets with me. When I came to Him with my open heart, He filled every corner of my being with His love, and I can’t help myself to not love Him back. I can love Him, because He first love me [1 John 4:19]. That morning in my bedroom, He opened the eyes of my heart and taught me that I shouldn’t strive to love Him, because loving Him is not my choice; it is only by His grace. He created human with free will because He longs for a true relationship based on love, not out of fear. An-‘it takes two to tango’-kind of relationship, where we are also desiring Him. That’s why He loves us first, because He knows that our sinful nature is against it. His love enables us to love Him back. 

And here’s where my running has to come to an end. He loves me so much He let me go through tough times for a purpose. The vessel is brimming with oil, it has to be cracked or it will be useless and ends up in a furnace at the end of the day. I know it’s going to be tough, I may be looking around for my ‘running shoes’ again at some point, but all I need to do is taking the first step. I have, and I know straight-away that this ‘caring journey’ is going to be a looong one. 

One thing that I can ask of Him, is a new heart. It’s impossible to care if I still work using my careless, ignorant heart. I ask for a new heart full of His love that will enable me to love His people, to see them as He sees them, and not get easily irritated by them. When I seem to lose hope and want to give up, may I always be reminded that it is His love that enables me. I really need His help to not wrestle Him when He needs to crack me, to learn to give a part of me for others. I’m praying that the people that God put in my path will not see me as nosy or weird or patronising, and may God works in their lives mightily. I’m praying that this small vessel will be worthy to be used in His glory. 

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. [Ezekiel 36:26-27]