Calvary’s theme verse comes from Isaiah 64:4, “For since the world began, no ear has heard, no eye has seen a God like you who works for those who wait for him.” But if you are anything like me, I hate to wait. So why wait? In the last three post, that questions was answered in two ways. First we wait because He is a God who will amaze us. Secondly we wait because we desperately need him. We need him because Isaiah says that our sin runs deep. When we display the best of our best life, it’s nothing but filthy rags. This isn’t a legalistic rant or a judgmental hypocrisy. This is the Creator’s diagnosis of our hearts. This is the reality of our position before God, without Christ.
We desperately need God because our sin runs deep. This is hard, bad news, but there is good news; gospel. We wait… Because He will come close. Sin runs deep…we are infected with it…we want to do our own thing in our own time for our own glory and God turns his back on us. We lament. So we cry for his presence and something shifts…the language turns in Isaiah 64 intimate and personal.
And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8
Do you see the shift? Isaiah goes from asking the nation-scaring God to rend the heavens with fearsome fireworks to asking the Father God to put his hands on our hearts and shape us inside. The picture of the Father as potter and his people as the clay breaks this lament wide-open. It’s the New Covenant leaking into the Old Testement. It’s relationship. Rather than God bursting forth, God is invited in. Rather than nations trembling and mountains quaking the Father is shaping our hearts.
Do you understand what this means? You are not alone nor are you left alone. The fingerprints of God are all over you. And sometimes it hurts, he pushes and prods and digs his fingers into the recesses of our lives…but…He Is shaping you for a purpose. God is using people and events and circumstances to shape us. The good and the hard, the amazing wonder filled moments and the painful wound filled moments. Nothing gets by Him. Nothing gets wasted. Time is not wasted when we wait for Him. He is shaping us for a purpose. His purpose. Not ours. It’s not the place of the clay to tell the potter what to shape. It’s simply our place to be shaped and to be amazed by the work of his hands.
And sometimes it’s not just the work of his hands that hurts, sometimes it’s even the fire isn’t it? No one wants to be in the fire, but it’s not until we are fired that…we can retain our shape…and live out our purpose. And what is the purpose of a pot that’s been fashioned by the potter? The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)
We can be used in so many different ways, but our ultimate purpose is to be a container for a great treasure. Think about that for a moment…what is a jar? It’s just a container right? Most jars are defined by what they contain; water bottles, a flower vase, a cookie jar, a piggie bank, a fine bottle of wine. The value of a jar is determined by what it contains… empty jars go in recycling.
Our bodies, our lives are meant to be containers. Our value is determined, not by how we look on the outside, but by what we are filled with on the inside. Paul says we are jars of clay and we are filled with an incredible treasure. It’s the treasure that Jesus told the disciples to wait for in Jerusalem. It’s the treasure of the Spirit of God, the presence of Christ in us.
We wait because in the waiting God comes near to shape us, the potter with the clay. We wait because in the waiting we are filled with His presence. That is worth the wait.