Isaiah 29:16 (AMP)
16 [Oh, your perversity!] You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?
The end of the year is usually a time of reflection. Like a lot of folks, I have had a challenging year-one that has kept me on my knees quite a bit. I’m usually pretty comfortable in my own skin, but lately -while reflecting on some setbacks in my life- I was on the verge of a “pity party”. Maybe you can relate.
When it comes to finding our individual purposes, we sometimes attempt to put God’s will for our lives in a box based on our carnal expectations, what we see someone else doing, or how we view ourselves through our own egos. Many times we place our purposes in the hands of other people based on their expectations rather than God’s.
We become frustrated because we forget that we are the clay.
One of the main things I have struggled with is finishing my education. Education has always been important in my family so I was expected to attend college right out of high school and did so, but had to suspend my studies because of obligations at home. Once I married and left home, settled into a career and had my son, the years just slipped by. A couple of years ago I finally decided it was time to finish my education and began taking classes part-time.
I’m almost 50 and still in school. So I tried to have a pity party.
It’s embarrassing. Most of my close friends were done 25 years ago. (This is what I’m telling the Potter) along with:
“I feel like a failure”.
“No one is going to listen to me. They’ll see me as uneducated”.
“How can I have a ministry?”
“Why did I wait so long?”
Some of you reading this will recognize those questions. It may not be related to finishing school, but how many times have each of us asked God at some point in our lives “Why is my life happening this way”? And usually that question comes because instead of looking at our lives through the eyes of Christ, we are looking at the success of someone else and coveting it. Sometimes we just want the process to be a little easier.
We forget we are the clay.
What the Lord is teaching me through this experience is that He wants me to learn to depend on His wisdom first and foremost, to fill myself up with His Word, and to gain understanding and discernment. Then when I have completed my education by man it will be filtered through the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Are you depending on His wisdom, or are you still trying to make things happen through your own efforts)?
He wants me to understand humility. To approach people not as one whom arrogantly displays a title, but as one who is being continually taught and corrected through the Holy Spirit, enabling me to educate without shaming. (Do you desire to feel important, more “special”, or worthier than others)?
He wants my ministry to elevate Him alone. He needs me to understand that what He has taught me was not obtained by my effort and works. He needs me to always remember that what comes from my mouth and my hands to minister to others always originates with Him. All I have been given is not mine to keep. (Are you willing to give God credit for your success, or will you forget Him in your triumphs)?
He wants me to understand that my desires are important to Him, but I must seek Him first. He knows that finishing my education is important to me, but He wants me to put Him above all my earthly desires. (Are you willing to let go of something you desire greatly if God has told you that having that particular desire fulfilled is not in His will for your life)?
And finally, His timing is perfect. I can never assume that it is too late- or too early- (sometimes we get intimidated when God opens a door and we think we aren’t qualified to walk through it).
I share this because I want anyone reading this to understand that we are each created for a great purpose, and that we cannot always see why we must endure certain experiences or wait longer for those things we have prayed for. Sometimes what we see as failure is simply the maturing and remolding of our wills so that we may walk in God’s purpose for our lives.
Sometimes the Potter has to break the vessel to begin a greater work in it. So as you begin to reflect on your life at the close of this year, be at peace knowing that the Potter knows what He is doing!
Remember Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
In all things, He knows.