Broken and Beautiful

"Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.”

Jeremiah 18:2-4  

As I was riding my bike last week for the first time in months the Lord was ministering to me and encouraging me. When He finished ministering to my spirit and soul I wrote down the word “Repurposing” to remember what it was the Lord was communicating.

Dozens of scriptures came to mind thinking about how God is in complete control of our lives and the circumstances we each face daily. Nothing happens to us that doesn’t first pass through the filter of His love, nothing. I thought a lot about success and failure and how I view it in comparison to how God see’s it. I kept thinking about sin and how God is somehow able to take it when we confess it to Him and turn something that is so dark, so repulsive into something beautiful. I kept thinking that there really isn’t anything God can’t do and yet why do I still struggle at times trusting Him completely? God brought to mind a story from Jeremiah chapter 18 and the potters house. You need to read it a few times over so that it sinks in.

In reading the events that took place regarding the nation of Israel at the Potter’s House I stand in awe of God’s grace in that it is so amazing that I have come to realize I don’t understand it as much as I thought I once did. It’s making more sense to me why the apostle Paul would write in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Paul said that because even as ugly as sin is, God’s grace has a way of making everything beautiful. It’s why Isaiah could write, “though your sins are as scarlet I shall make them whiter than snow.” Only God can do that, and the apostle Paul knew that regardless of the sinful things you and I have ever done, God’s grace is greater than all of them put together. So the logic behind Romans 6:1 is simple. If the ugliness of mankind through sin exposes the beauty of God’s grace wouldn’t it be better for mankind to continue to sin so the whole world could see just how awesome our God is? Paul says, absolutely not and for good reason. We don’t need to help God, God needs to rescue us! Sin is never a solution, it is always the problem.

Sin isn’t something we humans need to practice to perfect as we have it down pretty good without any help. God’s grace is already evident every day of our lives in that we do continue to sin and God hasn’t just obliterated us but He still loves us and uses even the sin we commit to teach us that trusting ourselves and disobeying God never provides the outcome we hope it might. Sin never brings us closer to God. It actually does the very opposite, as sin is what separates us from God and why it’s so damaging to our lives. If in the end we are closer to God it’s because of the price Jesus Christ paid for our redemption. We must never become so callous as to forget sin is what Jesus was beaten and crucified for on Calvary’s Cross.  

Sin can and does have lasting effects on our lives and should never be treated lightly. It’s like the old saying, “the wound will heal but the scar will remain.” When we repent and confess our sins to God He forgives and forgets, so that isn’t the problem. It’s us, as we ourselves don’t automatically forgive and sometimes even when we do we don’t forget and because knowledge and experiences shape our lives we end up seeing people and the world different each time we sin. Maybe today you feel like a failure because of your past sin? You know that God has forgiven you but you still struggle with forgiving yourself. Have you ever thought about what it means to be “repurposed” by God? If, not, hold on tight as you read on and if you understand what the prophet is saying it will give you hope in your failure, identity and purpose in God even with cracks in our vessels.  

In Jeremiah 18 the picture we see is of a potter shaping a vessel. God is the potter we learn from further study that each of our lives is the clay (vessel). The wheel that turns the clay is the circumstances of our lives that God uses to shape us. When our circumstances don’t produce the thing that God was shaping our lives for, God doesn’t change our circumstances, He changes us. Don’t miss this. Our circumstances don’t ultimately shape us, the hand of God does. God simply uses the circumstances of life as the wheel to assist Him as He molds us. In Jeremiah when the clay is marred (which is a reminder of sin), the potter simply crushes the clay with His hands and begins to reshape and refashion it again (a picture of God’s grace and a reminder He is the God of the second and so on chance).

If the fashioned vessel had been completed and dried and then a flaw was discovered in it by the Potter, he wouldn’t just throw out the broken vessel but instead he would crush the vessel down into fine powder and then mix it into the virgin clay to make it stronger (a beautiful picture of redemption and how God uses our lives to strengthen the lives of others). The broken vessel that was deemed useless by its design was now crushed and able to be repurposed into something new. Its identity was lost completely as it was mixed into the body of the virgin clay and shaped into a new vessel (the act of being both Born Again and becoming a new creation in Christ). A beautiful picture of the power of God and His ability to make all things new!

Don’t be afraid, loved one, if your sin has rendered you broken and useless in this life, come to Jesus. Allow Him to crush you and mold you and make you into something new. Remember this today, “If God be for you then who can stand against you?” God really does love you and He has a plan and purpose for your life, regardless of your past, no matter what you have done. You might think you have messed it up and there is no hope for you. That’s a lie from the devil so do not, listen to it, do not buy into it. Turn to God instead, surrender to His will and experience for yourself…

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

Ecclesiastes 3:11



Michael Osthimer





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