Redeeming The Wasted Days, continued (title pun intended)
Click for Part 1 and Part 2
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
The world we live in focuses on being finely glazed porcelain – be the best you can be, you are beautiful and useful vessels. You suffer cracks and chips, sometimes shattering, but they say you can work hard to repair and glaze yourself back together. But that simply isn’t our state on Earth. Most of us exist in the soft clay stage. If you’ve ever thrown on a potter’s wheel, you know it is not a gentle and clean process. You make a sharp slice through the larger chunk of clay, throw it on a slab, and forcefully kneed it into a fine, conditioned lump. If you imagine being the clay, it’s rather violent and painful. I think most of humanity is stuck there, content with being the shaped lump as long as the pain is over. Some accept that hand-building is necessary to be formed into their purpose. A sturdy useful bowl, with some fingerprints and pits, and a single bisque firing is all they’re content to be.
But if we are destined to be spectacular vessels, uniform, refined, gorgeous pieces of art, that requires so much more work, and a lot more pain on account of the clay. Slammed onto a wheel, set into a dizzying cycle of squeezing and hollowing out, left alone and untouched to dry. When that short rest is over, it gets turned on its head, carved and cut, fired in a scorching kiln, and when things cool off, it’s still not over. Drowned in a suffocating blanket of thick, dull glaze, dried out and untouched again, then thrown into the fire a second time as the chemicals are branded into its very being. It’s the most pain you can possibly inflict on a lump of mud.
But oh, how stunning is the result: glossy, smooth, vibrantly colored and intricately designed. We all hold this masterpiece high on our mantles, admire it, Instagram it, and promote it as what we all aspire to. But we never appreciate the unspeakable pain it is going to take to get there. Cheap acrylic imitations are easier to come by and function just as well in the world. There is privilege in being chosen to become the authentic original.
But it hurts.
We chronically ill don’t understand why the rest of the world gets to be beautiful and Instagrammable now, being easily and cheaply mass produced, while we’re being spun on our heads and covered with mud. It’s not enough to look bad, we are raised to believe that if we’re not in a presentable, useful state, we ought to feel bad. While the other vases are holding flowers, or the plates are feeding the hungry, we sit in our wet sloppy lump not doing anything, seemingly wasting our lives. And rarely to do we stop to realize that the vessel cannot make itself. We can do our best to not become hardened and break, but the Potter has complete control over our condition. He decides how to mold us, how long to dry us, how high to fire us, when just the right glaze gets mixed. He decides when we’re to move on and when we’re finished.
Lymies need to realize this: God is in charge of your Wasted Days. He’s doing the work. It is not on your shoulders to redeem them. Be in your pain. Experience your sorrow. Surrender to His hands to shape you as He wills, and look to Him for your future. Do not feel guilty for being sick.
The healthy need to understand this: God is in charge of our Wasted Days. He directs our health, our treatment plans, our bodily responses, and refines us as He wills. It is not in our ability to heal faster, afford better treatment, or “get out and do more” with our lives when we're already doing everything we can. Do not make us feel guilty for being sick.
"Then walk in the peace and freedom that, when it shatters on the rocks of reality, which it will most days, you’re not being measured by God by how much you get done. You’re being measured by whether you trust the goodness and the wisdom and the sovereignty of God to work this new mess of inefficiency for his glory and the good of everyone involved, even when you can’t see how."