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Groggy? I Hope So!

I hope my title doesn’t sound negative or mean, but I needed to get your attention. How many times have you heard a word in your lifetime, only to find out it has multiple meanings? Not only that, but the same word can have both negative and positive connotations. Let me explain with a few examples:
  • The word tremendous has its roots in fear. Something tremendous was so terrible, it caused trembling or shaking. Now we see it only as a positive adjective, equal in weight to “wonderful” or “super.”
  • Grin originally meant “to bare the teeth in a threatening display of anger or pain.”
  • Sad started with the meaning of “satisfied,” also sometimes “steadfast” or “firm.” Today we know it to mean “sorrowful, grave, or even serious.”
  • My favorite, however, is the word bully. It used to be a term of endearment—a good friend or a sweetheart!
All this to say, we shouldn’t judge a word by its current understanding. So, what exactly do I mean by today’s blog title? Am I honestly wishing you to be lethargic, weak, dazed, and unsteady (as the picture implies)? I hope you know me better than that! And now that I’ve piqued your interest, I hope you realize that “groggy” or rather, “grog,” has a much different meaning and connotation than being sleepy (or a kind of beverage)—especially if you’re a believer in Christ.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled, “No Pain, No Gain” in which I reminded you and myself that suffering is part of life’s journey to enable us to reflect God’s image. (I encourage you to go back and read it if you haven’t, or to read it a second time as a review. You can access it quickly HERE.) At about the same time that I read the refining of silver analogy used in Malachi 3, I came across another very powerful illustration in relation to pottery. I’ll start this line of thinking with the following familiar Scripture:

Isaiah 64:8 NKJV
But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You are our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

Unfortunately, most of us need to experience brokenness to understand God’s loving care.

As believers, we understand that God is the potter, and we are the clay. I believe we also understand (at least technically) that we need to let Him mold us into the exact vessel that He’s designing each of us to be—for our benefit and His glory. Full disclosure here requires us to also acknowledge that often, we aren’t pliable enough to be molded. We can be stubborn and stiff-necked and strive to do things our own way. Having said that, what kind of vessel do you think we actually produce using that approach? (An elementary art project just popped into my head.)
We know, or should know, that God is sovereign and that He can even work His will through our stubbornness. In the process, He’ll show us His character—that of a loving, holy God who knows that trials and hardships may be the only way some of us learn. Unfortunately, most of us need to experience brokenness to understand God’s loving care.
And to be completely honest, we’re all broken, and we all fall short, and we all resist the Potter’s molding and shaping process at one time or another.  But that’s okay, because our Lord always makes a way to work His will, and He will ALWAYS prevail. Have you ever noticed that some of the most beautiful things we observe in life are the result of brokenness—a mosaic, for instance?  So let’s talk about brokenness and pottery.
A broken piece of pottery is called a potsherd. When left unattended, it lies as a reminder of its brokenness and inability to be used as designed.

 Isaiah 45:9a 
Woe to those who quarrel with their maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground.

A potsherd can also be used to scrape us (Job 2:8) and even hurt us if we try to hang on to our brokenness. Or, we can relinquish our brokenness to the Master Potter.
Experienced potters know that it’s not enough to know how to form a beautiful piece from clay—they must also know how to make lasting pots that can withstand daily use and abuse. To do so, they add some dust from previously broken pieces of pottery to the new clay. This dust is called grog.
Grog is made when a potter takes cracked or broken pottery, shatters it, then grinds it down into powder that can be added to fresh clay. The grog enables the potter to make a larger and stronger vessel than could be made with the new clay alone. Grog not only strengthens the clay, but it enables the vessel to go through fires much hotter as well. Then, when glazed, pieces strengthened and fired by a mixture of grog and clay end up having a much more beautiful and artistic look than a vessel formed by new clay alone.

Isaiah 40:29
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

What a powerful picture of our need for God’s healing, redemptive work in our lives following a time of brokenness. Which leads me back to my original question: "Are you groggy?" Have you been through a period of brokenness and hurt, left cracked and in pieces by the effects of sin in this world? Perfect. You are in the exact position for God to take your broken, shattered pieces and use them to make you stronger—able to withstand the heat—and more beautiful than you could ever imagine. It is through our brokenness that we can be made stronger.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11
But [H]e said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [M]y power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to [H]is eternal glory in Christ, will [H]imself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

As you look back over your life and reflect, I hope and pray that you will be overcome by your “grogginess” and by the caring and compassionate Potter who made it happen.
We invite you to read Carl Kerby’s testimony, which exemplifies brokenness used to build strength in Christ, within his book, Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life. Available HERE at our Reasons for Hope Store.
If you seek answers to questions you or others may have, we invite you to purchase Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking About the Bible (that adults want to know, too). To order, click HERE.
To encourage you in your walk with Christ, download our free app where you will find hundreds of digital resources to train and equip you in staying bold in your faith. Just click HERE, and look for the blue asterisk on the black background.
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope, has decades of experience working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching, leadership, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis, to name a few). Saved at a very young age and with a passion for God’s truth, she has served in various roles including classroom teacher, homeschool mom, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School and ladies’ Bible study teacher, and conference speaker.

Cooking/baking, hiking, traveling, and DIY projects are among her favorite pastimes. Holly and husband, Paul, have been married for almost 33 years, and enjoy any time spent with their three daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they can!

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