“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord”
Like the clay that spoils in the hands of the potter, so often do we feel about our lives. We look and reflect on much of the foolishness, willfulness, sin, destructiveness and harmful living that we have done and are left concluding that we are a washed up lump of spoiled clay. Our conclusions about ourselves are often very grim in their outlook and hope. Sin that feels beyond forgiveness, broken relationships that feel beyond redemption, and a host of other consequences that are a result of selfishness stand as beacons before our minds.
The mind is uncanny at rehashing, replaying, and reframing the things that would ensnare and entrap us in our actions. So often our hearts betray our better intentions and we wonder at the plights we have managed to work ourselves into. Then, in a cruel twist, our mind binds us to these foolish behaviors and tell us that this is who we are and that we are helpless to rise against the current of our hearts – “you have failed again, what is to convince you that you shall ever rise from your place and overcome? Can't you just accept that this is who you are?”
The cycle seems to never end. We are perpetuated in our behaviors because we feel hopeless, hopeless that we shall ever become anything else than what we've done, hopeless that those things and people we have alienated shall ever be redeemed.
But, we are spoiled clay in the Potter's hands. What matters is not what we have made of ourselves, but what God can make of us. Though we feel near to being thrown out in the discard pile, God comes and picks us up and speaks to us and says,
“Child, can I not do with you as this potter has done? O hopeless child, remeber who it is that holds you.”
Of the brokenness and ruin that we have left in our wake and the long established patterns of sin carried along, the Lord holds out much more hope for us than our feeble hearts ever could. It is not a hard thing for the Lord to change the leopard's spots, nor is it beyond him to take the life that you have squandered and make a beautiful thing of it, no matter what your conscience says.
There is nothing to fear when it is the Lord who stands between you and your folly. Instead of despair, there is only hope for tomorrow when God says he can take the spoiled lump of your life and fashion it into something useful.
This is my hope for each day, that He can indeed make something from the life that I have managed to make a mess of.