“But indeed, O man, who are you to replay against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Romans 9:20, 21, NKJV)
I suppose that we have all at some time or another been guilty of losing our grip on some object of intrinsic or personal value … watching it drop in slow motion … and hitting the counter, the table, or the floor, and breaking into pieces! Just not a good experience to go through, is it?
Life is not fair! Life is not a picnic! Life is as Job pens so succinctly, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1, ESV) And when it comes, we are often caught off guard … we may even look around and in the mirror and ask ourselves “how did I get here?”
It might be the loss of a job or the loss of a spouse … the loss of health or a loved one’s health … a divorce … a son or daughter choosing to leave the Lord! Any of these and so many more can and usually do … bring us down to our knees or even prostrate on the floor or curled up in some corner of a room or closet! Yes, life is challenging!
God has given to each of us the ability to make choices but He holds us accountable for the choices that we make. Oh, we can point a finger in someone else’s direction and place the blame there, but in our heart of hearts we know we made the choice and choices bring consequences.
There is a very real truth that so many have a problem facing, admitting, and even repenting of. It is the problem of sin … our sin! And we all must deal with the problem of sin in our life (Romans 3:23).
And the fact is, unresolved sin … un-repented of sin … when left to exist unattended will actually break our hearts, lives, and souls down … that is unless we become so calloused to sin that we just don’t give it any thought! My friends … may we never find ourselves going down that road because not only is it a dead end … it means eternity separated from Him who made you!
Our Heavenly Father gives each of us the opportunity, unlike the passive clay in the hands of a potter, to use the free will that He has blessed each of us with to either become a vessel of honor … one that chooses to become the vessel of honor and usefulness in His kingdom … or to be a vessel that honors self and serves the world!
The questions being asked in our text are asked by the Apostle Paul of those who have decided to question the decisions and actions of the Lord! Unlike the clay in the potter’s hands that can be molded and shaped and has not life in it … we do! We have emotions, we have feelings … we have will power … and we can choose to resist Him!
Having a broken heart is not a figment of our imagination! It is not some sort of a pity party for one! Our gracious and loving Father both acknowledges and He understands that sometimes things happen in the evil world we live in that can initiate feelings that can best be described as something that is crumbling down within us and we don’t know how to stop the crumbling!
There is hope … there is always hope … there is One who understands and who promises to be there with us and for us! And when our hearts have been broken by life’s disappointments, He does not try to scold us or tell us to ‘grow up’ and just take it!
No, here is what He says to the broken-hearted among us, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18, ESV) Nothing escapes His all-seeing eyes and all-knowing awareness of each and every one of us! And the wonderful truth of this assurance is that He never stops caring about us!
But, listen to another reassuring statement, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) I want to close with this thought: try and imagine if you can our Heavenly Father seeing our broken pieces on the floor of life … bending down and looking closely at every broken piece and then with a gentle touch that only He could offer, providing the soothing salve to our living clay everywhere it is needed!
My friends … my brothers and sisters in Christ … we are all broken in different ways and yet the same. Let each of us turn to the comfort and grace of our loving Father and allow Him to shape and mold us into the vessel of honor He so wants for each of us to be!
Bill Fairchild, Jr.