When “Finding God” Is All That’s Left

You, Lord, are our Father. We are nothing but clay, but you are the potter who molds us.
Isaiah 64:8

Heavenly Father, Master Potter, you design each one of us and sculpt us from clay and dust into images of you, the likeness of Jesus Christ – but you give us a choice. The choice is a simple one: to accept that we are the product of your hands, skillfully made for specific purposes, for glorious reasons; or to see ourselves – not as beautiful reflections of you but as standalone originals, equals to you, gods in our own lives, in our own minds, with ambitions we decide and define for ourselves.

How we must disappoint you when we choose the latter!

But some of us are blessed to be given – to be suddenly struck by – the recognition of our origin, our place and means of manufacture, our humble beginnings, middles, and ends. For us, life ceases to be a struggle for survival (of the fittest). It is no longer a challenge and a competition to make something of ourselves – by ourselves – through our manipulations of others. Instead, life becomes a peaceful and joy-filled journey of adventure to see and experience every single thing and moment – even the frightful ones – and each and every companionable meeting of brothers and sisters that you have planned for us. On our years-long trips through your wondrous creation, we find opportunities to demonstrate our choice – not to build our own vain-glory, but to lift up, encourage, and shine your light to illuminate the paths of those trapped or lost in the darkness of despair.

What a treat to have such a cause as our motivation! To simply, humbly follow the clues and cues you have hidden, sometimes quite plainly, in this divine “scavenger” hunt, when “finding” you is all there is.

Lord, the work of “doing” within people is yours. Yes, we can boast slightly that it starts with what they see and hear and feel from us, those who believe and know just this much: that you are the Master Builder and we are of your workmanship.

God, we have a funeral today, to celebrate a broken but repaired jar of clay returning to your eternal workshop in glory.  We who remain here need to discover again your comfort and assurance. I pray for this.

In Jesus’ life-changing name, Amen.

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Says Who!?

There are only two kinds of people. This is determined by the answer to a single question: “Says Who!?”

Another form of the question is like that asked ad nauseum by healthy, growing, young minds everywhere:”Why?” “Why?” “Why??”

From where can a final answer come? Perhaps, it’s more accurate to say ‘when does it come?’ We can continue to ask all our lives – certainly as children we all seek endlessly. But, as we age, our actions become consistent evidence of our belief. Fortunately, minds don’t have to be made up permanently. We get to ‘pencil in’ our response, and have a lifetime to erase and choose anew. I know I revisit and debate again and again, but these days, each time my doubts are put to rest.

The only two answers to “Says Who!?” are, “I do!” or “God, the Creator.”

It’s a simple choice, but it can take a long time to decide. This is sometimes called ‘growing up.’ I say: all it takes is accepting a definition of what is ‘good’ and what is ‘wrong’. And it is who we are centered on that points us to our answer. If ‘good for me’ is what matters, I will not care that it can be wrong for you. Like a toddler, why should I share?

But if I believe that the Creator, The Highest Authority, makes each person equal in His love and in His purpose, I become willing (though I may still struggle with being able) to give in favor of need. If I believe in the Creator, I can trust Him to provide for me, as He promises to. In my life, I have experienced abundance – at its most basic, with every breath I take.

Writers like C.S. Lewis have said that we share an inherent feeling of guilt, like from Original Sin, the rebellion in Eden. (Which, not coincidentally, was the result of asking the “Why? Did God really say ____?” question one too many times.) This morning I began wondering about this – do I have guilt only because of the wrong I have done? Or from something deeper? Are there actually people who believe they’ve done no wrong, and therefore do not have this feeling?

The only way that would be possible, I concluded, is if those people are focused solely on themselves. (Or soullessly on themselves.) ‘Good’ and ‘wrong’ are then relative, and survival of the fittest is the name of the game. That explains what is in the world, I think. Surely, we are meant for something better.

“We know deep in our hearts that we don’t measure up. We feel the lack of our Father’s approval, and so we set out to get it ourselves – we work, we strive for acceptance and significance, but we are never satisfied.
“The result is that a black cloud of guilt hangs over our lives. The solution is not trying harder – it’s resting on what Christ has done for us. We need to remember that nothing we do, achieve, accomplish, or make can erase our guilt and provide worth. Only the righteousness of Christ can undo, wipe away, and remove guilt before our Holy Father.
“… come to Jesus for forgiveness… [this feeling] becomes a reminder that you are a sinner who needs to daily ask for forgiveness and daily claim Christ’s perfect record (His righteousness) as your own.”
(Pete Alwinson, Like Father Like Son excerpted in Men of Integrity magazine)

Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Romans 5:1