Romans 9:20-21 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
In this passage, Paul is explaining the sovereignty of God. I must admit, I don’t like it too much. Let me clarify; my flesh doesn’t like it too much. Can’t every person just be a self made man? Don’t we have complete control over our circumstances and our future? To a degree yes – that’s free will. But free will does not undo the sovereignty of God. It does not negate His absolute power and authority over all creation.
I bet over the course of any person’s life, they have asked a question like the one here in verse 20. “Why did you make me like this? Why didn’t you make me like that? How come I don’t have that ability?” These are the kind of questions that get to the core of who we are. They go to the center of a person’s being. Often they come out in a time of failure or hurt. We get frustrated with ourselves. We don’t like our behavior. It’s in those times that we direct the glory to God, although it’s not really glory. It’s complaint. It’s very similar to what happens with a football team. When the team is winning, the players (the quarterback especially) get all kinds of praise. When they lose, the coach gets fired.
This is what we often do with God. When we don’t like what we see, we want to fire God from control of our lives. We want to fire God from his position of power, authority, and sovereignty. Paul poses this question, “does a clay pot get to ask the potter what the heck he is doing?” No it does not. The clay pot is molded for a unique purpose. Some pots are flashy and impressive. Some look more ordinary. But they all have a purpose. One might be used to serve wine to the king and the other might be used to serve water to the homeless. But they both have a purpose.
Going with this analogy that Paul uses, we the pots have to trust that the potter knew what he was doing when he made us. If we are the little teapot, short and stout, our purpose is to be tipped over and poured out. And that should be enough. How God designed us and made us should be okay with us. What we really need to do is lean into him to discover the purpose he made us for. That’s a completely different line of questioning – it is a searching.
God is God. If we would just acknowledge that He is sovereign; if we would question less and trust more, I think we would find that He really does know what He is doing.