Jeremiah 18:1-6 “As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…”
There are few things that have made me happier in life than childhood memories of playing with PlayDoh. Yes, as a grown man, I happily admit that I was in love with PlayDoh! I loved the texture, I loved the smell, and I loved the varied colors! My parents’ biggest investment in their own peace was coming home with a 3-pack of the original PlayDoh! The once precocious child (me) could disappear in plain sight. There, in the middle of the floor, I could cross my legs and create an entire world. After all, the only thing required to play with PlayDoh was “imagination.”
The hours of endless creation for me with PlayDoh changed when the company began to offer “guides” to assist with making various things. They invested in corporate sponsorship, offering plastic replicas of things already created, like fries, burgers, and ice cream. That never sat right with my young mind. If the premise of PlayDoh was to “use your imagination,” I couldn’t understand why this plastic was given to “guide” our imaginations.
Jeremiah is often referred to as the weeping prophet. This wasn’t because he was a crybaby, by any means. Jeremiah was born in a time of great peril for his people, and he divided his time pleading to the people for God and pleading to God on the behalf of the people. He did all he could to bring reconciliation to God’s chosen people. Our text finds us in the space of God speaking to Jeremiah over the continuous sin of Israel. The One who created had realized that what He formed needed a change.
God, like children with PlayDoh, loves to play in the clay of our lives. Constantly, He beckons us closer to remold, renew, and remodel our lives. It is we who often get lazy in our choice to return to Him. We opt for plastic replicas of lives He never intended for us to live, and we settle for quick fixes as opposed to trusting the endless possibilities He affords. Israel’s biggest indictment is the same of the modern day church. It is not that they didn’t want to live better lives, or even that they wanted them quickly. It was that they chose to negate God altogether by making the status quo their gods. It is the notion that somehow God got it wrong, or that He is taking too long, so we choose to “fix” His plan with plastic, artificial methods.
Conversely, how many times do we refuse others the access of grace and God’s glory, limiting their deliverance, healing, and liberties to the plastic superficial, sugarcoated norms of what we think is good? How many times have we told people that they need to change and then we would accept them? How many times have we ignored the miracle of God’s imagination to create something out of lives full of nothing, because our finite imaginations limit faith? God is bigger than that.
Perhaps I am a Jeremiah. Perhaps God is reminding us in this season of Thanksgiving to remember what imagination and faith feel like. My heart is that whether you are the one needing grace to believe, or you are one who is refusing it for someone else, that we remember God is like the little boy in the middle of the play room with PlayDoh. He does not need plastic models, and He has never asked for our permission. He is the God of imagination and creation. Allow Him to play in your life. He will fashion it in a way you could never imagine. Trust Him!