The other night, I gathered with a group of people to enter into praise and worship. As we praised, I was forced to acknowledge that I so often forget to praise God in my daily life. I am thankful for many things, but too infrequently do I stop and simply praise God for who He is, independent of anything He has done for me.
As I sang, I couldn’t help but consider how it pleased God to hear hymns rising amidst the violence that surrounds our world. To the unbeliever, the songs of praise would seem ridiculous. How could we praise a being we claim is all-powerful while conflict seems to send ripples of tension across the surface of the earth? Even as I praised God, I could imagine a person gesturing to point after point of contention. How is God good here? How is God loving here?
I don’t always know the solution or have the knack of finding God perfectly in all things. Yet I know that in a world of aching longing, He is found in the small and large moments. In those moments I spent in the church with others, praising God, I felt His presence, but primarily I felt a desire to respond to God as we ought. Too often caught up in asking for things or pouring out my feelings, I wanted time to just adore the God who Is.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
The Lord knows what He is doing. As He molds our lives through His fingers, as He shapes the world we see around us, He is doing as it seems good to Him. From our perspective, the world might seem in constant upheaval, as it might to the clay that spins senselessly on the potter’s wheel. It cannot grasp how it is being formed or what the finished product will be. I, too, must yield to the work of the Father’s hands and accept when He reworks me into another vessel for His use.
That clay, falling apart and constantly being reformed, praises God in its very being. And it finds itself always close to the potter. The stretch of change might be painful, but I want to spend my time praising the God who is so near and so closely involved in the intricacies of my life. When all seems spoiled, I want to turn to the Lord and thank Him for being with me in the ruins. When all seems glorious, I want to thank Him for being with me in the beauty. Though my situation and perspective may change, He never does.