we are the clay
Given my great delight in "found" things (be it old antiques or new materials or something that happens to be available in my basement when the moment arises), and turning them into something they've never been before, I'm surprised it's taken me this long to realize how this is a deeply-inset, God-given trait. The propensity to turn old into new is something that's been built into me as not only a way to honor and imitate His character better, but also as a way for me to understand Him better... and a way for me to better understand how He views me.
The Bible study I'm working through right now with some friends challenged us this week to look up four passages:
Isaiah 45:9 - "woe to him who strives with him who formed him"
Isaiah 64:8 - "But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Jeremiah 18:1-6 - "And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel."
Romans 9:20-21 - "But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?"
I've read these all in isolation before, but I'll confess that reading them all in succession stopped me a little short. What right do I have to complain to God about the way He made me? And do I think He lacks the ability to RE-make me into something else if He doesn't like the way that I am? And if He has made me a certain way, and chose to leave that trait alone for now, don't I believe He has a purpose in that? And don't I see how God probably takes as much delight in picking me up like I pick up a piece of fabric or a set of ingredients or something thrifted and thinking to Himself: "I can make her into something more!" And don't I trust Him in that? And don't I believe that I am valuable because of what He is making me into? Because of what He did? That my worth is in Him, and the work of His hands? And if I disagree with what God thinks I should be, who is probably right in that situation?
We're led to believe that we can be anything that we want to be, that if we aren't how we believe we should be, then we can make ourselves into something else... a business success, a certain type of person as we portray ourselves on social media, a different gender... but it's false. If we don't like the way we've been made, we ourselves can do nothing about that. We can, however, take that to our Maker and ask Him to mold us to His pleasing. And then submit to His callings, His correction, His comfort, and His creativity.
"Ultimately, it is God who does the mending and the remaking; it is our role to simply yield to His hands. He made you with a purpose in mind, and He intends to use your cracked places to illuminate the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a broken and needy world. You simply have to stop complaining, and be willing to be used just as He made you." -Redefined
God has found each of us broken and useless, and delights in the process of making each of us honorable vessels, by the work of His hands. What an unfathomable plan of love He has written.