“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”
Weaving through the Art Institute of Chicago we gawk at masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, and Seurat, their appeal captivating us the way desert wanderers gulp water down parched throats. Each priceless portrait or landscape composition encased in its gilded frame hangs like honeyed dates in a cluster of palms waiting to satisfy the senses. Many saunter by without ever stopping by this oasis.
Weaving through portions of Scripture that go unread for years reminds me that God’s Word is substantial, gratifying, challenging. Wandering through the gallery of the prophet Jeremiah, I stumble across one engaging passage after another, amazed that such significance is accessible to mere mortals. I find the Lord here, his meaning-filled promises and unchanging character recorded in black and white within layers of living color.
For the times I cannot understand what God is allowing or what possible good could emerge from the disconcerting mess swirling nearby, this is worthy of consideration: “And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do… ‘Can I not do with you as this potter has done?’ declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’” (Jeremiah 18:4,6)
When I need realignment to the truth that God alone is directing what lies ahead I gaze on this: “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps…Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.” (Jeremiah 10:23 & 14:22)
When nightmares parade in daytime clothes and handcuff me to unbelief, I fix my eyes on this picture of freedom: “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise…But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me!” (Jeremiah 17:14 & 20:11)
And for all the times a familiar friend is precisely what I need, this favorite reminder quiets, soothes, renews: “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it – the LORD is his name. Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)
I come, I call, I wait. You alone are the treasure, Lord. Keep me looking straight in your direction.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell