You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
Shall the thing made say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
This verse is preceded by God expressing disappointment in His people because they have turned away from their maker. Earlier in the chapter, God says they honor Him with their lips, but their hearts are far away from Him. And then in this particular verse, God seems to say “How dare you question me? How dare you, the one I formed, think I could not know or understand you?”
Do we know that God made us? Or rather, do we truly believe that God made us exactly who we are? I have always struggled with this concept – that God not only knows who I am, but that God made me this way purposefully. When I really let that sink in and truly believe it; this understanding can be both liberating and also fill me with a sense of obligation.
It can be liberating in knowing that we are supposed to be who we are. God purposefully formed a blob of clay into a vessel and gave me life. I’m supposed to have brown hair, to be a shy extrovert, to love the woods, to question everything. I can own it, embrace it, and be empowered by it. This is me and it’s supposed to be me! But, there are also imperfections in the clay pot – a dent here, a ridge there. And those dents and ridges in our vessel that we don’t like about ourselves can cause us to struggle. Yet that struggle, that suffering, that constant awareness of shortcomings we must continue to overcome, can also empower us if we learn to embrace it as a gift from God. It can bring us closer to God if we allow it.
And in the moments that I can truly believe I was formed by God, I then begin to wonder why. If God made each of us as a unique individual – then why? In order to discover why, I believe we need to get to know ourselves. And in doing so, we can begin to see that this glorious gift of who we are, dents and all, can be used to serve God’s purpose of why we were made the way we are. We can start to see that we should embrace our uniqueness, and in doing so, it will empower us to use it for the greater good.
A prayer – Dear God, help us to remember that you made us in a purposeful and holy way. Help us to see your handiwork in our hearts, in our bodies, and in our minds. Forgive us when we do not believe that you know us, that you made us, or that you understand us. And above all, give us the courage to embrace who we are, with all our imperfections, so that we may use this clay vessel that you’ve made to do your will in this world. Amen.