Day 23

Objects of Mercy

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 9:19-33, Jeremiah 18:1-6, Ephesians 1:11-14

BY Claire Gibson

I did an internship in Washington D.C. the summer before my junior year in college. The job was good enough; I coordinated summer camp logistics for kids interested in politics. Yes, it was as nerdy as you’re imagining, and yes, I was a former attendee. But the best thing about that summer wasn’t licking envelopes and herding hormones. It was meeting a new group of friends at church.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the town of Stars Hollow from the TV show Gilmore Girls, but those quirky, fictional characters had nothing on my new, real-life friends. Despite the fact that I was a stranger in town and only planning to stay for eight weeks, they grafted me in, constantly hounding me to join them for weekend adventures of camping, floating down rivers, or taking long motorcycle rides through the Shenandoah Valley. It was as dreamy as it sounds, and it was healing for my soul in many, many ways. 

We talked about the gospel, too, and one of those conversations led to the topic of the providence of God. The candor of the conversation shocked me. Who talks about this stuff anyway? And what does the providence of God even mean?

I was kindly pointed to today’s passage in Romans, and from there one friend explained the idea that God is sovereign. At face value, the concept of a God who is in control might seem offensive. We don’t like to believe that Someone else has the final say. When Paul asks in Romans 9:20, “Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”, I want to scream, “Yes! That’s what my prayers to God sound like on a regular basis!” But from my perspective, when I take Romans 9 to heart, we have to concede that God is ultimately the one in control.

In the years since my dream summer in D.C., I’ve learned a lot about faith. I’ve read much more of the Bible. I’ve spent countless hours with Jesus. And despite all that, God’s providence is as mysterious to me now as it was then. But Scripture teaches that our God is a loving God with a purpose for me. 

I look at the seasons, coming and going in their time. I look at the ocean waves, which know their boundaries. I look at my face in the mirror—imperfect, yes, but a masterpiece in the Master’s hands. I look at the miracle of life itself—particularly in a world bent on death. None of it is a mistake. This beauty is His creation. 

Post Comments (48)

48 thoughts on "Objects of Mercy"

  1. Ebony Lewis says:


  2. Christina Sach says:

    Coming from a major fan, even going to fan festivals and meeting cast members and hanging out with them, I loved the Gilmore girls reference :)
    I love that God is in control but I always wonder why he made me like this. May He mold me to be what He wants me to be.

  3. Isabella Ibrahim says:


  4. Teresa Donley says:

    Thank you, all of you She’s for your comments on todays reading. They are beautiful, powerful and moving. I pray that we are all able to remember that He is the potter, and we can trust what He is making of us.
    She’s – I have written down each prayer request, and prayed for each as I came to it. I know God is with each situation and knows the longing of each heart.

  5. Teresa Donley says:

    LIBBY K – I appreciate your comments. I’m especially moved by, “You cannot even begin to make anything until your clay is perfectly centered.” Center me, Lord, in You.”

  6. Teresa Donley says:

    COLLEEN DEVEAU – Thank you for the beautiful prayer. I’ve printed it so I can see it, and make it the prayer of my heart too. “May we trust that You know best.”

  7. Holli Jung says:


  8. Bev says:

    I read this passage of scripture twice, and I read all the commentary, but nothing really stood out to me. However, today I finished the Beth Moore book, “All My Knotted Up Life”, and at the end, in looking back on her life and how it played out to God’s glory, she says this:

    “What God is this who can keep a secret so long? What God is this, so unhurried to prove himself? So confident of his own spotless character that he is unpressured by all the second-guessing of his own children?”

    I think this sums up what Paul is trying to tell me here in Romans 9.
    Good book, by the way, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

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