Submitted by Jan on Tue, 03/09/2013 – 10:20
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: Jeremiah / Jeremia
Verse: 1 – 10
I often struggle through the harsh verses of the prophets. When I look at Jeremiah 18:1-11, I also tend to hear only the voice of an angry God, especially in verse 11: “Now then, tell the people … that I am making plans against them and getting ready to punish them…” (Good News Bible).
But somehow my perspective shifted… “Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over … and use the same clay to make another pot” (v4 from The Message)
I recently had the privilege of attending my twenty-year high school reunion. Once we recognised each other and overcame our anxieties, it was a wonderful experience to reconnect with one another. We laughed together, we recalled long gone events, talked about our loved ones, our children, our work, and someone even managed to sing our school anthem… we indeed shared a lovely time together.
But the twenty years also brought its share of pain. One friend mentioned: “This is not how I envisioned my life, I ask myself, where did I go wrong?” A few softly mentioned divorce, some buried a parent, others rejoiced because a loved one survived cancer, one escaped with her two children from a very abusive husband, one has a serious health condition, a few were clearly trying to soak very recent pain in alcohol …
Life does not always turn out how we planned it.
And certainly not if I think of …
…the few thousand people who discovered their HIV positive status this week …
…the hundreds of people standing at graves this week-end, parents burying their children…
…the thousands of women who are abused or violated at this very moment …
…the thousands of children growing up longing for their mothers and fathers…
Certainly life did not turn out as thousands of people were thinking or hoping for. And somehow it seems as if the Potter can identify with this disappointment:
4 But the jar that he was forming didn’t turn out as he wished, so he kneaded it into a lump and started again. (Living Bible)
Rick Warren writes in ‘The Purpose Driven Life’: “Your problems are not punishment; they are wake-up calls from a loving God. God is not mad at you; he’s mad about you, and he will do whatever it takes to bring you back into fellowship with him.”
4 “… the potter would simply start over … and use the same clay to make another pot.” Jeremiah 18: 4 (The Message)
“You are in my hands just like clay in the potter’s hands.” Jer 18:6b (Good News Bible)
And all of a sudden I find relief and comfort knowing that as long as we remain clay in God’s hands … He can simply start over…
To think about: How does the image of God as potter and us as clay help us to bring hope to broken and disappointed lives?
Written by: Aneleh Fourie Le Roux, Training manager at CABSA
Author: Fourie-Le Roux A (Ms)