28 July, Thursday – Going Roundabout

28 July

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Jeremiah 18:1-6

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear what I have to say.’ So I went down to the potter’s house; and there he was, working at the wheel. And whenever the vessel he was making came out wrong, as happens with the clay handled by potters, he would start afresh and work it into another vessel, as potters do. Then this word of the Lord was addressed to me, ‘House of Israel, can not I do to you what this potter does? – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.’

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Matthew 13:47-53

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

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‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear what I have to say.’

Have you ever asked a person a question, hoping to get a quick answer, yet he/she goes on and on with a story and you are straining to understand how the answer addresses your question? Reading Jeremiah today, God’s commandment to Jeremiah to go down the potter’s house before God tells him what to do feels a bit unnecessary for me. If you want something, why not just say it straight? Yet, it seems that God wants to give us long answers, in a roundabout way. The Israelites had to wander for 40 years before knowing where the Promised Land was.

Why does God not just answer our questions when we ask it? Why does he ask us to do something in order to find the answer? I must admit that I sometimes feel frustrated with this way of God.

Before I left my previous job, I had to talk to God about it for more than two years. My journal is filled with questions asking for a yes-no answer. I had to go through feelings of uncertainty (I hope you can empathize with me that living with uncertainty is not enjoyable at all). I was not getting straight answers. I had to learn to talk to God as his plan unfolded. It’s like he was inviting me to come down to the potter’s house and understand the events unfolding into my life. I had to talk frequently with God. Looking back, it deepened my prayer life.

I learned to sit still and search for God. I learned to pray from the heart, I learned to open my heart to God. I learned to be patient. I learned to trust. Often, we look just at the end-point that we forget that forming us into better Christians is the intent of our whole life experience. Perhaps God’s indirect way of answering is really meant for us to grow in faith and in virtue.

A baby needs nine months in the womb before being born, and that is only to form its physical body. I’m sure our spirit might need more than that. It will be difficult to live if we are premature in spiritual experience. That’s why God patiently goes the roundabout way with us.

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Lord, please help me enjoy the roundabout you are taking me on.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for your patience in explaining things to me step-by-step, and sharing only what I need when I need it.

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