Buckets that leak


My bucket leaks. My bucket forgets. My bucket even quarrels and questions: “God, why don’t you make life easier? Why don’t you arrange my circumstances so that I don’t lose heart? Why can’t I just grow more like you without all the trials?” My hope fades so easily. I lose heart so quickly. Oh Father, I need help:

“…we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

“Notice the implications of this word renewed. We are being “renewed” every day. If you are being renewed every day, what does that imply? It implies: hope fades, encouragement wanes, your bucket leaks. I find it unbelievably encouraging that the apostle Paul says, “I’ve got a secret, and it isn’t a secret of how never to need renewal. You can have an experience, and you don’t need renewal anymore.” That’s not the message. In fact, the message is unbelievably realistic.

Day by day, renewed, which means every day you leak, every day you fade, every day you get depleted. That’s what it says. You wouldn’t need to be renewed day by day, if you could run your car on yesterday’s gas, if your metabolism could function on yesterday’s meal, or if the pain in your head can be relieved on yesterday’s dosage. You can’t run today’s life on yesterday’s newness…you have to find ways to put the air under your wings every day.

And Paul says, “I know how to do that.” That’s the secret I’m after here. I don’t want to lose heart — not a day. I want the secret of being renewed every day — not a week, not a month. Every day I want to figure this out so that I can walk like this. I know life is going to be a battle. That’s the application of “renewed.” So Paul, I really, really want what you say you have. And you say it takes renewing.

This is what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 6:34 that each day has enough trouble of its own. “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Have you ever thought about that phrase, “its own trouble”? Like, what is today? Friday. Okay, there’s Friday trouble. Guess what? There’s Saturday trouble…

But you know what else? Lamentations 3:22–23 says the mercies of the Lord “are new every morning.” I don’t know how many years I’ve been using these texts for my soul. On the one hand, every day has its own trouble. But on the other, every day has its own mercies. This is Lamentations 3:22–23, and this is Matthew 6:34. God has matched them. That’s part of the secret. Tomorrow will have its Saturday troubles, and tomorrow will have its Saturday mercies. And those Saturday mercies must be tapped into by the secret here of renewing because I had some mercies this morning, and they’re not designed for tomorrow. They were designed for today, and I’m feeling them right now.

Tomorrow there are going to be new mercies, and the secret that Paul’s got here is: How do you get under those? How do you get in those? How do you experience those?…

I asked God, “Is there something in this text that would just give me a clue for why you set it up this way: that I have to be renewed every day? I mean, you could have just bumped me up to maximum sanctification and kept me there.” You know how I know he could? Because he’s going to do it when Jesus comes back. I’ll never sin again after Jesus comes back. So why am I sinning now? “I mean, Lord, just do that. You’re going to do it then; just do it now.” And he says, “Not the plan.”

“We have this treasure in jars of clay” for a reason — clay that needs to be renewed every day, clay that can’t stand on its own longer than 24 hours or on yesterday’s grace for 24 hours — all so that the surpassing power will belong to God (2 Corinthians 4:7). You can get in God’s face about this and say, “I don’t like the plan. I don’t like the plan that you leave me unsanctified and battling every day with depletion, having to be renewed on grace every day. I don’t like the plan. I’d just like to be done with the battle.”

And God would say, ‘Well, that’s the plan. And the reason it’s the plan is I’m going to get some glory in your life. If I didn’t do it this way, you’d get uppity about it. You’d think you had it made. You’d think your strength was coming from you. The fact that you’ve run out of gas every day puts you in the station — and the station is me.’

So God has his reasons for why he saves us in stages, sanctifies us slowly, and makes us fill up every day at his pump, lest we forget where the gas comes from.”

Lest we forget Him.

(From John Piper – you can read more here.)




About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and work as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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