Yesterday I shared with you the impact Pastor and Mrs. Cannon made upon my life by their example of showing compassion to those who are hurting. During my time in OH, I often heard it said that whenever someone was grieving, there was no one who could comfort like the two of them. I also shared with you that the reason they were so able to show such comfort was because they themselves had faced many tragedies in their own lives. It was from that testimony that Pastor Cannon taught me another important lesson.
I can remember one Sunday morning while I was sitting on the platform and he was preaching. The topic was suffering and at one point in his message, I saw his complexion change and it was as if I could see into his soul. Chill bumps stood up on his face as he said, “How do you make it through a tragedy? You must permit it to happen. If you try to resist it, it will take you down. But if you permit it to happen, God will lift you up.” Those words went deep into my heart and memory. I knew that what he was telling us was not something that he had read out of a book, but a truth he had learned from living.
Jeremiah 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
We sometimes sing a hymn that says, “Have thine own way Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the Potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me, after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.” I believe that was what Pastor Cannon was trying to tell us that day. Sometimes the hardest part about suffering is not the pain itself but our resistance to the pain and God’s will for our life. Instead of fighting God, we must yield to Him and allow Him to carry us through our difficulty. Perhaps that is why God sometimes allows tragedy to enter into our lives. It is so that He can prove to us that His grace is indeed sufficient.
Am I prepared for such tragedy? I seriously doubt it. Most likely when it comes, I will want to resist it and try to force God to deal me another hand. Yet I pray that the words of Pastor Cannon will come back to my mind and instead of wrestling with God, I will rest in His tender care. I pray that I will be pliable clay in the Potter’s hand.