Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Gospel According to Pinocchio

“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?” (Isaiah 45:9)

When you saw the title, you thought you were going to be warned about the sin of lying, didn’t you? No, today I’m going beyond your nose or even your truthfulness to something far deeper: your will.

We all remember the story of Pinocchio, don’t we? The puppet who wanted to be a real boy? Pinocchio’s real problem was not his inclination for lying, as bad as that may be. No, his real problem was that he questioned his “creator/father,” kindly, old Gepetto. All his miss-adventures began when he left home; and if he had not returned, he would never have been what he and his father wanted him to be. And the same is true of all of us, saved or lost.

It’s one thing to struggle against other people (“Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.”) But it’s a whole different ball game when you and I strive against our Maker, the One who fashioned us, saying, as it were, “What are you doing with me?” (“What makest thou?”) There is a reason God refers to His people as clay, and in this case, poor, broken pieces of pottery (potsherds). It’s because we are nothing without His hand upon us. He redeemed us in order to fashion us, and conform us to the image of His Son. He made because He had plans for us.

I’ll give you two good reasons for not striving with your Maker. First, it’s futile. “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa.45:23); “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure…yea, I have spoken it, I will bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it (Isa.46:10-11). God will not be thwarted. His purpose for our lives will be fulfilled. We have the option of choice when it comes to our own pleasure in His will; but God has made a great personal investment in our creation and redemption, and His pleasure trumps ours every time. The good thing about it is that when you and I yield to His pleasure, we end up being pleased ourselves.

Second, we can rest assured our Maker/Savior has our best interest at heart. His will for us is all bound up in His love for us. The two are inseparable. When He closes a door, it’s not to shut us out, but to shut us in; when He wounds us, He pours in soothing ointment; when He breaks our heart, He makes it softer; and when He leaves us alone, He draws us closer to Himself. All God’s touches are tender. As one old Puritan wrote, “ We may feel God’s hand as a Father upon us when He strikes us as well as when He strokes us.”

Are you striving with your “Maker” over something in your life? Know that not only are you fighting a losing battle, you’re fighting a foolish one. (Ask Jacob.) You’re shrugging your shoulder at the dearest Friend you have, whose love will go beyond the grave. He has promised, “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isa.46:4).

When Pinocchio left home, he sang, “There are no strings on me.” But he changed his tune. Have you?

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