Objects of Mercy
Open Your Bible
Romans 9:19-33, Jeremiah 18:1-6, Ephesians 1:11-14
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.