Honestly, I don’t know why it’s so hard at times, and I’m not going to pretend I’ve solved the problem of evil. However, I do know some things about our God.
In my morning Bible reading time this summer, I’ve been reading through Isaiah, and Isaiah 45:9 really stood out to me today.
Many circumstances and events come to us in our lives like unmarked packages with no return address. Sometimes they seem like gifts that we welcome into our lives, and other times they are more like bombs that nearly kill us. They always move us in a direction that we did not anticipate, and sometimes they have us angrily asking God “Why?”
This isn’t a new question for God’s people to ask in the midst of confusion. Isaiah writes, “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?”
Isiah is basically asking, “Who is the pot to criticize the potter?”
This passage from Isaiah is in reference to the reality that all rulers and nations rise or fall, conquer or are conquered because of God’s sovereign will. A couple of verses later, God says, “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?”
The long, dramatic story of Israel is one of God’s redemption and salvation, but Israel didn’t get to choose when and where or what part they played in the larger story. They also didn’t get to choose the road to their salvation and redemption. Some Israelites lived in times of hardships and slavery or captivity. At other times, the Israelites lived in joy and prosperity.
Scripture is clear that God is still the same today as he was then, and we are all parts of a much larger story of redemption in which we don’t get to tell the potter what kind of pottery we will be.
This is a hard truth to swallow sometimes, or most of the time. We wonder why our path seems especially difficult compared to everyone else and why we have to deal with this disease or this pain or this disability or this broken marriage or this difficult child or this abuse or these scars that simply won’t heal and the list goes on. We like to compare, and God responds by reminding us that we are not the potter. He is. It can be incredibly frustrating to have to put up with an unchangeable difficulty because we know God could remove it if he wanted to.
But before we get angry, there are several truths we must remember when we do not like the path God has given to us.
- God is infinitely wise. His wisdom has no limits and is incomprehensible to you and me. God knows what he his doing. This could be really bad news, but when paired with the next truth, it’s a great comfort.
- God loves his people. God is good and he loves us. An all-wise God who is also wicked would be terrible for us. But our God is good and he loves us. All he does in the lives of his children is out of pure, good love.
God is leading us and walking us through the trials and pain of this life to a redeemed and restored reality. Though we walk through these valleys of death, we don’t need to fear. He leads us, and he is not a lost or blind guide. He has walked the path of this human existence before. And we can follow him into the storm, the trial, the pain, the sacrifice, and ultimately our own death because he has already been there.
And guess what? He won.
There is no need to fear or doubt or strive against God. In fact, it’s downright foolish. He has a glorious and beautiful plan for the future of his people, and the confusing, painful, difficult paths he has set before us are only a thread of a much larger, incomprehensibly beautiful tapestry of life and redemption.