“You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
I love hanging out with four-year-olds. They are funny, creative, and full of questions. Anyone who has spent much time with a four-year-old can tell you their most common question is, “Why?”
We joke about how kids ask so many questions, but in my experience, adults are just as likely to question things. Whenever life doesn’t seem fair, whenever tragedy strikes, whenever we are passing through seasons of pain or suffering, one of the first things we want to ask is, “Why?”
So many of life’s “whys” are not easily answered (which is why I love the old song that says, “We’ll understand it better by and by”), but I do believe it helps to be able to take a step or two back and look at the precision involved in God’s work.
In the case of the prophet Jeremiah, God allowed him to do just this. God told him to go to the potter’s house and watch the him work. He saw the potter put down a flawed piece of clay and pick up another that would work best for his design. God then told Jeremiah that the house of Israel was like clay on the potter’s wheel.
When it seems life is chaotic and we cannot find answers for our whys, may we find some comfort in the fact that the divine Potter is still at work in our lives! For the next few weeks, we will join Jeremiah in the potter's house and see what lessons we can glean from the potter's wheel.
We have an excellent example of fatherhood in our Heavenly Father:
Paul, the aged apostle of Jesus Christ recognized he was nearing the end of his earthly journey. Just as Jesus commissioned His disciples to “…go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” Paul fervently wished to pass the vital torch of the truth to Timothy, his “son in the gospel.” He admonishes Timothy to be “a good soldier of Jesus Christ” and gives him certain perimeters for guidance.
First, he tells him to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Grace is God’s favor, anointing (divine enablement), protection and provision. As God told Paul, His grace is all sufficient for all things.
Secondly, as a recipient of this great saving gospel, Paul tells Timothy he must teach others also. (If each one won one and each one won, won one we could reach the entire world in one generation).
Then Paul reminds Timothy that he must “endure hardship.” Soldiers lead a life of sacrifice and often must deprive themselves of ordinary creature comforts. He reminds Timothy not to “entangle himself in the affairs of this life.” Jesus also warned us not to be overcome by the cares and anxieties of life.
Lastly, Paul reveals the principle motive of a true soldier of Jesus Christ: to please the Lord that called him to be a soldier. This old song expresses well the Christian soldier’s determination: “It's a battlefield, brother, not a recreation room; it's a fight and not a game. Run if you want to, run if you will, but I came here to stay.”