It is a cold, snowy day (says the internet; I haven’t been outside), and I think the Truck is making a last-minute attempt to renovate rather than move out and has been pushed up against my ribs all day. Anyways, with my limited energies I have been deleting old emails, and I came across a post that I typed up and saved but never put online. It’s from December 2011, and although my personal situation has changed I wanted to post it because the lesson still stands:
Have you ever known that you were wrong about something but not sure how to get right? That has been me for the last little while, really struggling with apathy and resentment toward church and life and lacking the spiritual reasons to sort myself out. The thing is, the last few months have brought me to such a bigger understanding of God’s love and grace that I know God’s love for me is complete and won’t change whether I participate in a church service, sit miserably in the pew, or go home. Last week I went home. And it was great!
But I can’t avoid church just because it makes me miserable these days – all the changes that I want to see there also apply to me, and staying home isn’t how I think those changes will come about. So I’ve been stuck – wanting to stretch but feeling too brittle, wishing the sulk wouldn’t show on my face, trying to be sociable for five minutes at a time because that’s all I can manage. And the great-big grace of God hasn’t helped me move through this muck because I know God loves me even when I hate everything and everybody, when my heart is shrivelled up like a raisin, and I have only been able to hold on my very tightest to the belief that God loves me as I am and wait for him to change me into someone that I can love too.
And then I read Jeremiah 18 and fell in love with verses 1-10:
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.
This passage is a gift to me because it reminds me that I am not a passive participant when it comes to God’s work in my life. God is working, and he has a plan, but it isn’t set in stone, and the quality of my character and the choices I make have an impact on how everything turns out.
The same is true on a bigger scale with our church – no matter how everything plays out in the next few months, I trust that God has his hand in it and will use whatever happens as it seems good to him.
Putting this all into words, it is hard to show the connection between what I’ve understood this passage saying and how it has helped my heart not give up on itself. But that has been the end result, and I am super grateful for this picture to hold on to.