8 “But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand.”
Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)
Most athletes thank God when they are recognized for their achievements. It is God’s creative hand that ultimately put them on the awards platform. Their discipline, work and sacrifice were critical, but God’s gifting was primary.
There is another side of the awards platform that many are likely to experience.
As a chaplain to professional baseball players, I would arrive at the spring training facilities early in the morning. While most of the team was arriving for practice, there were usually a couple of tanned, fit athletes leaving the clubhouse, lugging their equipment bags to their cars. As the early cuts in camp, the look on their faces usually betrayed the end of the road of a lifelong dream.
It is a little harder to thank God for your abilities when you don’t make the cut. You worked as hard as the rest of the team, but other athletes were a little faster, a little more coordinated or a little more “gifted.”
It seems common in human nature to question why God made us as He did. We compare our brains, beauty, physique and abilities to others and wonder why. We can sigh under our breath and whisper, “If only …”
God’s prophet Isaiah answers us with the simple picture of a potter, hunched next to his turning wheel, shaping a water-soaked piece of clay with his weathered hands. Giving God full credit, Isaiah praises God saying, “We are the work of Thy hand.”
God, just like the potter, has determined the shape of each one of us, from our looks to our abilities. He has done it for a reason.
Coming to grips with these truths can be one of the most liberating and exciting perspectives of our lives. The next four devotionals will probe the significance of being clay in the Potter’s hands.