All Hail the Potter
Last week, while observing in a K4 class, one of the littles turned his face my direction. I know this particular class personally, as I have subbed for them on occasion and often visit with them in the hall and around the school. What my small friend said made me smile. He has an expressive countenance, which was turned into a frown as he looked my way and said, "Mrs Kershaw is very tall!!" Yep, he's right. At 6 foot, I often tower above my friends. This is especially true when I am visiting in K4. "You're right Vince," I replied with a chuckle, "Mrs Kershaw is very tall. It's just the way God made me."
I can smile at remarks made about my height, and happily share mini-lessons with the K4 crew regarding how all of us were made with intention and purpose, per Psalm 139. Yet the concept is much more difficult when I am struggling with a propensity to sin that is part of my make up. The temptation there is to excuse my struggle instead of attacking it. I find myself participating in this kind of buck-passing, and I also see it in others. It sounds a bit like this--"I can't help it, I'm just a worrier" or "I'm hyper-sensitive--that's who I am," or, "well, if you lived my life you'd be angry too!"
This is why Isaiah 45:9 speaks to me. When Isaiah asks, "Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? ", I have to say yes, the clay of our humanity often does. This clay does not always appreciate God's handiwork and sometimes undermines His providence. The clay asks design questions, like why am I built this way? Why do other people have what I don't have? Why do they have those opportunities or those gifts? Questions come up about situations, abilities, and circumstances. The clay questions both the internal and external landscapes of the life it is faced with. To be honest, clay seems quite comfortable throwing out the interrogatives.
When we, as clay, question our creation and purpose, we better watch out. Seeking wisdom in these things is very different than expressing discontent. When that becomes the refrain, we've put our mind on par with the mind of God. That's some dangerous territory.
Before a Holy God, I must keep in mind that I cannot keep His ways in my mind. I don't get Him, and probably never will. I cannot contain the expanse of His plans or the intricacies of how He works. As Isaiah 55 says, as high as the heavens are above the earth, that's how high above my perception God's thoughts and ways are. Sobering.
When those clay questions bubble up, I'm trying to use Paul's weaknesses to strengths paradigm (2 Corinthians 12) to answer them. I am asking, how could God be working here? What could He be doing as I learn to depend on Him in this situation, struggle, or place. This strategy involves trying to see the very big picture, and trust a very big God. It means ceasing to question my Potter, and starting to truly trust His shaping hand.