~ Clay Art created by my children, Caleb and Leah ~
So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 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. Then the word of the Lord came to me.
He said, “Can I not do with you…as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand… Jeremiah 18:3-6
A young friend of ours, with whom my daughter and I met up for a brief hangout recently, put it this way; “I feel as though I’m living in a dream; like I’m not even living in my own life”.
The current oil boom here in the Bakken is a phenomenon rife with dichotomies and contradictions. It is a place where opportunity often walks hand-in-hand with loss, and promise rubs elbows with uncertainty on a daily basis. It can be a genuine struggle to carve out a sense of belonging in a culture that shifts and morphs with the rise and fall of oil prices.
Somehow removal from the ebb and flow of normal life produces a sense of detachment from life in general. There are days when I feel like I’m trapped in some strange, interminable out-of-body experience —MIA from my own life.
Though I would prefer to deny it, I am discovering that I’m not as malleable and resilient as I previously thought. I’m finding I prefer the exoskeleton effect that routine and consistency lend to my existence; and if I am completely honest, to my sense of identity as well.
The move from our home in Idaho to the Great Plains was driven by the practical need for more stable income, underscored by the belief that God had a greater plan in mind than firming up our wallet. More than once in the past three years we were certain we caught a glimpse of that purpose. Then just as it began to crystallize into something close to tangible, it dissolved away once more into nebulous uncertainty.
As a teacher I am always looking for the lesson. As a scientist I want answers. I need to know the explanation; just the facts, if you please. I am admittedly destination and product oriented. My patience all too easily becomes thread-bare in what I perceive as the waiting for something that feels more permanent.
God on the other hand is more about the journey; sometimes allowing a great distance along the pathway between our question and His answer. He is a God of process; forever in the business of making all things new.
I need to be reminded that God alone is the potter. I am merely the clay. He knows the plans He has for my life. In His wisdom He may elect to reshape me when and how He chooses, for His glory and for my ultimate good. He knows the circumstances and path that will serve to transform me into a thing of beauty —more akin to the likeness of His Son.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
What that means in practical terms, is that He may change up my life, stretch me in new directions, and set me on a new course according to His perfect love and plan for my life. It may not always be pleasant. It may include loss and even sorrow.
In a life that is unpredictable and ever evolving, I must learn to anchor myself to the only solid, unchanging and eternal One who holds my very breath in His hands. Ultimately, my purpose and identity must be defined by Him and through Him alone.
Lord, please teach me to be clay; to trust and yield to your hand in my life. Help me to walk in JOY, knowing that you are writing my life story and creating a masterpiece, as only you can do. Through every season, every challenge and every change, let my life display your Glory!