We all know that God has a plan for our lives. I think often we’re afraid that plan will be boring or that His plan will lead us somewhere we don’t want to go. I think we often hope that God will bless our plans. That He will simply let us drive and just come along for the ride. But what if living like that wasn’t God’s plan for us? I think the concept of God’s will for our lives has left Christians divided and confused. On one extreme you have those who are obsessed over finding some secret blueprint for their lives; they’re afraid they’ll make a bad move. On the other extreme I see people who seem to not care whether God has a plan for them or are paralyzed by the fact that are unclear what God is telling them to do.
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. (Jeremiah 18:1–4)
No matter what view you hold of God’s will and plan for your life, sometimes we all fear that we will mess up “the plan”. But such fear doesn’t hold water (and I think most of us know that) but living that truth out day-to-day sometimes is another matter. You see it doesn’t matter if you mess up God’s plan. He can take you back onto His potter’s wheel and reshape you, reform you and reuse you. My Pastor says that there are no grandstands in God’s Kingdom. There’s no Christian who’s sitting on the shelf, unused just collecting dust. If we avoid the potter’s wheel and choose to collect dust, that’s on us; it’s not God’s will for us. I wonder how many Christians have put themselves on the shelf. If we as Christians don’t allow God to paint His masterpiece with our lives we’ll remain a blank canvas that we are liable to mess up if we take the paint brush in hand to paint ourselves.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Have you ever been working on a project and just wanted to give up? I remember various times I thought I could do something myself and after hours of trying and making a giant mess and being utterly frustrated, I would find myself saying, “That’s it, I give up, this will never happen.” Sometimes this happens because I take on a project I’m not qualified for or because I don’t have the right tools, time or knowledge to accomplish it. When it comes to God, He will never abandon us. He never runs out of time nor does He lack the proper tools or knowledge to accomplish His will. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8) He is the one who said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If He never leaves us it stands to reason He never gives up on us. He continues to work on us molding us as He sees fit. We are the work of His hands. He has a purpose for us. He won’t abandon that work or give up on that work until He has completed it.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4–6)
I find it interesting that so many people ask of those graduating “what do you want to do with your life?” or say, “well so long as so-and-so is happy.” But is that what really matters? What do I want to do with my life or my happiness? What about what God is seeking to do in my life? What about His pleasure? Isn’t that our true life-purpose anyways? Yet you hear even Christians talking about “my life story” or “my plans” or “my heart’s desire”. I think that’s what’s wrong with American Christianity, we’ve come to believe that our life is our own (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and that we’re the makers of our own destiny. We might say we’re living for God or giving Him some top priority in our lives but we’ve not yet surrendered to Him the driver’s seat or allowed Him to work us on the potter’s wheel. Yet so often we question God on what He’s doing with us or why He’s allowing certain people or situations into our lives.
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9)
I am nothing. He is everything. My plans are small and narrow minded. His plans are unchanged since the universe was created. My desires are weak. His desires are steadfast since before the first man was made. Yet He loves me, has created me, has a plan for my life and invites me to sit on the potter’s wheel so that He can mold me and shape me as He sees fit. He asks that He hold the steering wheel and that He holds the paint brush and that I trust Him completely.