“What are you doing?” OK, I confess. I’ve thought this when God opened new horizons ahead. I am a creature of habit; I don’t like change and prefer to be (sometimes overly) prepared for what is next. (I sound like a control freak, don’t I? That’s because I am.) So years ago, when asked to speak at a conference in Lagos, Nigeria, I wondered, “What do you want me to do?” I had stage four cancer; my late husband, Paul, and I looked at each other and said, “God, what is going on?” Later on, after Paul’s fatal accident, I sat alone in the emergency room—Paul’s lifeless body lay on the gurney beside me—and I wondered, “God what is happening?” (Can you tell? I try really hard to hang onto my role as “Head Advisor to God.”)
Asking questions of God might be our first reaction when He seems to direct our lives differently than we had planned. It’s not that we refuse His hand, but we question Him because we can’t see the big picture. Isaiah 55:8–9 (NIV) says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways; declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” There’s a difference between sensing God is up to something new in our lives versus refusing to cooperate with Him. It’s easier to cooperate with God when we understand His character and intimately know Him through Bible study put to use in our very own personal experience. We must trust Him impeccably, unwaveringly, and permit our questions to transform into resolute commitment.
In Jeremiah 18:1–12, God took the prophet Jeremiah on a “field trip” to visit a potter. As Jeremiah watched the potter shape the pot, it was damaged, so the artist decided to start over. The potter began his project again; he molded the clay into a shape of his choosing, a brand new pot. I love this from Jeremiah 18:4: “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” We can observe the parallel here: God is the potter, the kingdom of Judah, the clay. God gave His people a warning to repent before He brought judgment on them. Although Judah was rebellious, God had the power to reshape them for His purposes.
The impact of the Potter and Clay illustration for us in our everyday lives is penetrating. Will we trust God’s heart, even if His hand seems harsh? Job reminds us in Job 23:10, “But he knows the way I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” God, the Potter, asks us to allow Him to begin again with us. God is on our side. He is the God of second chances. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this,” says Psalm 37:4–5. Remember, Beloved, He knows our faults, failures and shortcomings, yet He asks us to let Him remove them and rearrange them into something that gives Him glory. We have choices—we can become like one aspect of clay: mindless and passive. Or we can be like another of clay’s attributes: moldable and soft, willing and receptive to the shaping hand of God in our lives. When we choose to yield to God, even if we don’t agree with His will, He will begin to remodel us into valuable vessels. “Yet O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, you are the potter, and we are the work of your hand,” says Isaiah 64:8.
Beloved, my prayers are with you. I love you and God loves you. Let me pray for us, OK?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for directing our lives. Forgive us for giving you advice about what is best for us. We ask for a willing, submissive spirit and a trusting heart. Thank you for reminding us of your love, your stability, and your wisdom through every circumstance; you ask for us to trust you. Would you make Proverbs 3:5–6 part of our fiber? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Thank you for your presence and peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.