Potter and clay

There was a time in my life when, like many in my generation, I felt strongly that I deserved things.

That was no more clearly evident than in the job market. I spent nine months at one job beating my head against the wall because it wasn’t “in my field” doing what I thought I “should” be doing. I challenged a company policy about how quickly someone could be hired from within for another position because I was certain that I deserved to be in a different position from where I would be much better positioned to serve the company. It was all in the company’s best interest.

Of course it was.

When the company was named “Me. Myself. And I.”

I had thought I had escaped that mindset, but this recent life change I have encountered has challenged me once again. I still have debt from the degrees I earned for what I considered “my” field. That debt has been insisting that because I have it, I must be what I expected I’d be when I took it on.

But is that true?

At the beginning of Jeremiah 18 (you know you want to click that link and go read it – go ahead, I’ll wait), Jeremiah encounters a message from God at the house of a potter, working at his wheel. The potter ruined the vessel he was working on, so he smashed the clay down and started again. God’s message through Jeremiah was simply: why should I not do this to Judah? Why should I not do this to you?

If God is the potter and I am the clay, why can God not remake me, remold me, rework me according to his desires? Why should He not completely change the direction I believed I was going and become a bowl instead of the vase I thought I was going to be (or vice versa)?

Now, I don’t consider myself “ruined.” But if God has better or just different plans for me, well, He’s the potter and I’m the clay. Maybe I’ll still be a preacher. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll work in a church again. Maybe I’ll be a layperson. Maybe I won’t be able to attend church at all while I pursue other work.

You know what won’t change? He’s God. I’m not. He’s savior. I’m redeemed. Tomorrow remains in His hands. It will never be in mine.

Psalm 42:5-6a says:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

I want everything to work out just the way I want it to. I liked what I was seeing in the reflection of the mirror on the potter’s wall. But if God has other uses for me (or if He does not), then that’s okay. I choose to praise Him anyway.

He is God. In Him I hope. He is my salvation. He is my God. He is the Potter. I am the clay.

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