Sweet adolescence. A time of a personal experiment, finding one’s self, and coming of age. It is a scary season filled with growing feet, growing hair, and new body odors. During these years we’ll try out more looks, hairstyles, and ideas than the rest of our lives combined. For many of us, there is some perceived physical flaw, (acne and weight were mine) we try to hide or minimize because we don’t want to stick out or become the source of ridicule (and maybe this is still true today of some of us who are older, too). Why did I have to be made like this? Why couldn’t my heavenly Father shape me to be more like them over there?
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Romans 9:19-20
Romans 9 seems to indicate that God has foreseen our identity and placed us to “be” in our present circumstance. We’re all made out of the same clay, but we each have a different role. He knows our hearts, and He will use each of us to his advantage. We don’t even need to be “good.” God foreknew Esua’s flagrant disregard to his birthright and used it to continue his line through Jacob. God used the hardened heart of Pharaoh to bring about the freedom of the Hebrews for Egyptian captivity. He used King Cyrus to send the Jews home to rebuild their temple and wall. The lack of relationship to the Heavenly Father doesn’t remove you from being a character in his story. God made each of them like this and they fulfilled His purpose.
But let’s provide some contrast. God used Esther, Joseph, and Solomon in almost identical manners to those listed above. So, did God predestine the fate of the “good” and the “bad”? Give some ungodly inclinations so they could move in the direction of wrongdoing, and give others no opportunity to fail at following Him? Well, I’m not a theologian, but I feel the Bible is consistent about the free choice of man to choose and follow God at any point, including His son, Jesus Christ, who faces his own trials and temptations. We may have perceived traits, inclinations, chips, chunks, or some other appraisal of malformation in our clay, which again, beg the question, “Why did I have to be made like this?” Well, whether it is the normal stuff or the special stuff (v.21), God has made you to be used for times such as this, according to His plan..
In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offering. Roman 9:8
Because there is no longer a single line of inheritance, Jewish heritage, he is calling all the pottery of different shapes and sizes to follow Him. Our titled-question I cannot answer. That is the Heavenly Father prerogative and determination. What I can tell you is to spend less time questioning God about the chunky bits, the cracks, the struggles He has placed within you and before you. We have been formed exactly in a way to shine the fullness of God. To find Him, not ourselves. To look like Jesus, not everyone else. For us, His work and craftsmanship, to trust in the Potter’s identity alone.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- If you could ask Paul to further explain one of his points in Romans 9 what would you ask and why? What might he reply?
- What do you love about God’s plan? What do you wonder about God’s plan?
- What is the joy in being the clay not the potter?