For better or for worse…almost every time I hear this statement it is in the context marriage and so if you cringed a little when you read the title, be rest assured, I am not going to talk about marriage at all. This week my bible reading led me to Jeremiah 18 and the story of Jeremiah in the potter’s house. Here is the scripture in context:
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.Jeremiah 18:1-6 NIV
This is a scripture I was inspired to post about this year, but from a very different perspective based on my disposition at the time (you can catch that post here if you missed it). But as I read the verses again, a few days ago, the bolded part of the scripture came alive for me, like a light had been shone to that section. In time past I have dwelled on the clay getting marred in God’s hands and likened this to an unsurrendered will but this time the emphasis for me in the scripture was on God’s hands.
When wonderful things happen for us in life and prayers are answered, we feel loved and feel like God is near and usually the opposite is true as well. When life is not going our way or things do not turn out the way we want, we are quick to feel abandoned by God. I have used phrases such as “it seems like God is far away from me”, “it feels like my prayers are bouncing off the walls” etc. to describe these times in my life. And to reconcile with scripture that describe God as always being present, it is easier to feel unworthy of God’s love in those moments than it is to accept that God is present but silent.
The visual of the clay being in the potter’s hand while it was marred is not only a reminder of God’s sovereignty over our lives but also an assurance that for better or for worse we are in God’s hands. Whether we are going through the storms of life or enjoying life’s brightest day we are in God’s hands and He’s got us. Just like the potter reshaped the clay because he did not like how the pot turned out, so is God shaping things in our lives on a constant to make sure that the outcome is for His pleasure. Not our pleasure but His.
…for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.Rev 4:11 KJV
Think about your hands for a second. How often do you use your hand in a day? I’d say many many times and for many different tasks and if you have full function of your hands, you probably rarely think of them- you just use them. Now imagine you had to hold a pebble in one of your hands for a few hours. Would your attention be drawn to your hand more often? I’d like to think so! What if you have to hold on for a few days? Of course you’d be hyper aware of the pebble in your hand. Well, scripture says:
See, I [God] have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.Isaiah 49:16 NIV
You are always on God’s mind, after all you are only a palm away. Walls in the ancient near east were built around cities to fortify them. They were a symbol of safety, comfort, and strength. When enemies attacked, they tried to lay siege to the walls of a city and if they broke down the walls, they had access to conquer the city. Are your walls crumbling? Are the things that give you safety, comfort, and strength seeming to be break away? Or are your walls intact? Are you enjoying stability in your relationship with God and others? Are you enjoying times of peace and contentment? Because you are right there engraved in His palm, your walls whether intact and robust or in ruins and shambles are always before God. He sees it all, He knows it all and He’s got you!
Today hear the word of the Lord: “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does? Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, [insert your name].
For better or for worse; through the good times and the bad; you are in God’s hands.