Your hands fashioned and made me;
and now you turn and destroy me.
Remember that you fashioned me like clay;
and will you turn me to dust again?
Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese?
You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit.
Have you ever felt powerless to make changes you know need to be made in order to live a life in Christ’s image? Have you ever felt stuck, frustrated, and discouraged as you repeat the behaviors and thoughts you wish to change? In pre-pandemic days, we were often able to wear our “good” masks of kindness, gentleness, and self-control with friends and co-workers. At home, we are more prone to take off our “good” masks and express negative thoughts and behaviors.
This pandemic has forced some of us to spend more time with family members than we have ever spent or perhaps ever wished to spend. For those who live alone, it may have led to feelings of loneliness. When we experience multiple severe stressors long term, the effects of the stressors multiply. Add together the many pandemic stressors- financial, work, school, health, social isolation, uncertainty- and they create the perfect storm for feelings of depression, anxiety, and weariness. Under these circumstances, we often have difficulty accessing our best thoughts and behaviors, our “better selves.” I certainly find myself repeating unwanted thoughts and behaviors that need to be changed. At times, I can identify with Job, feeling as worthless as dust, as sour as curdled cheese.
In this passage, Job simultaneously expresses his anguish and his faith. Here I find real encouragement. Job points out that God is at work fashioning us like clay, molding us in God’s image. God literally clothes us with flesh and skin. Job foreshadows the New Testament proclamation that God has created us to adopt the mind of Christ.
I believe God has enabled me to use this pandemic to see thoughts and behaviors that need transforming and with God’s help begin the process of change. This is the good news foreshadowed by Job: God’s love is steadfast. Indeed, God takes all parts of us, positive and negative, and knits us together to be his new creation. God loves us just the way we are, and God is at work helping us to become more Christlike. We have the gift of God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ to bring this to completion. This good news we can depend on, and for this good news we are eternally grateful, creating God’s perfect plan for reanimation, restoration, and re-creation. Thanks be to God.
God of grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power;
Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the search for thy salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving thee whom we adore,
serving thee whom we adore.