A Reflection on Romans 9:20-21
Recently, a friend who learned of our challenges in 2014 encouraged me to read Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty. While I am enjoying the book a great deal, the verses at the end of the chapters offer a whole additional element to my savoring of the story. After the first chapter, I ended up spending an additional hour just on the verses and my own journaling. At this rate, it’s going to be difficult for me to accomplish my ideal quota of books I want to have read by the end of 2015, but it is so enriching to let the books go deeper than just my eyes taking in the words on the pages.
I especially enjoyed discovering my own reflection inspired by Romans 9:20-21.
…will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use?
Los Angeles is a climate that breeds a narcissistic desire to be special and extraordinary. So many people come here after being a big fish in a small pond, only to struggle to maintain that identity in a pond where they are suddenly average. While this wrestling with desperation to be “special” is an obvious struggle in Los Angeles, it is actually an inner drive common in the average human experience. Who among us, even as a small child, didn’t have some deep down desire to know they are inherently special?
The Romans verse immediately brought to mind the memory of walking through an antique shop with my husband a couple months ago, when I stumbled across these pitchers and mugs. I recognized them immediately as the same type of pitcher and mugs that used to sit in the kitchen cabinet of my childhood home.
Back then, they seemed so ordinary. I really only used that mug if nothing more desirable was available. They weren’t set aside for “special use” in my home, they were ordinary; not kept in the china cabinet with the fancy guest dishes; not requiring special cleaning instructions for extra protection (at least, not that I recall).
However, 30 years later, the site of these ordinary mugs and pitchers on an antique store shelf brought a sense of comfort and a flood of warm memories. There I was, taking photos and texting them to my mom and sister so they could see and share in my special find! The pottery had not suddenly morphed into china or silver, they were still just the ordinary brown mugs and pitchers that we had in my childhood home. Yet somehow, sitting in that antique shop for me to see, it was not in spite of, but because of their ordinary essence that they were suddenly “special.”
The Potter knew what He was doing making an object for ordinary use. Simply by being there to serve its simple purpose, over the years its character was revealed in just how extraordinarily ordinary it really was.