Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”
In this section of Romans 9, Paul is explaining God’s freedom and authority to do what he wills, even if it doesn’t quite make sense to us. Though we may not especially like our lot in life, it’s not our place to argue with the one who made us. “Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ ” Here Paul alludes to Isaiah 29:16, which argues that the potter is far greater than the clay, and therefore the clay has no right to talk back to the potter.
Yet there are certainly times when we want to cry out to God, “Why have you made me like this? Why is my life such a mess? What are you doing with me?” Logic says that God has every right to do with us as he wills. But our hearts aren’t easily persuaded by reason when life is hard and seems so unfair.
At times like this, we must lean hard upon the goodness and wisdom of God. God brought life out of death through the cross of Christ. The same God who will ultimately make sense out of what seems to us so senseless. He will redeem that which appears to be beyond redemption. Our trust in the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ allows us to remain steadfast even in seasons of doubt, as we await the glory of the new creation yet to come (v. 23).
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever wanted to ask God: “Why have you made me like this?” When? Did your question get answered? Or did your need to have an answer get resolved?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, on this day I’m actually feeling grateful for my life. Though I have plenty of shortcomings, I’m thankful for the gifts you’ve given me. And my life is good, Lord, filled with your blessings. So on this day, I’m not inclined to ask, “Why have you made me like this?”
But I know there will be other days, and so I pray for those times. When life is hard, when I doubt your goodness, when I can’t figure out what you’re doing with me, help me to trust you. Give me renewed confidence in your goodness and wisdom.
Dear Lord, today I remember several friends who are in very difficult places. I expect they are wondering why you have made them as they are, why their lives are so hard and unfair. I pray for these friends today, that you might reassure them. Pour out your love upon them. Even if you don’t answer their questions, let them know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are there for them, that they belong to you, and that their lives are in your strong, kind hands. Amen.
Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.