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Of Mice and Fragile Clay
7/21/2018 3:59:00 PM by: Susan Lyttek

Last week, Gary and I took my mother (gently) and my father to the airport. Mom had planned to do several things with me while she stayed at my house, but threw out her back less than twelve hours after she arrived. So we did none of those planned things. Instead, I bought Tylenol, put on pain-relieving gel, and helped her move from place to place. Instead of shopping, we went to the chiropractor and the emergency room.

In moments like these I can’t help but quote the Scottish poet Robert Burns his verse, To a Mouse
“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley.”

Or in the words I’m more likely to use: “the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” In other words, we’d love to say we can make solid plans and stick to them, but something unexpected can happen to throw a wrench in the works.

I intended to write this post on Saturday afternoon or Sunday initially—of last week. As soon as Mom and Dad got home in other words. I had a huge headache on Sunday after procrastinating Saturday. Then the blog appeared on my to-do list every day this week. But I did not sleep well and my writing hours generally were stolen by naps so that I could keep doing the outside obligations on my calendar. The whole situation affirmed that planning does not necessarily mean doing. This form is too fragile to equate the two.

The Bible has a lot to say on this topic—both about the brevity and fragility of life and about our inability to plan anything with certainty. In James chapter 4, it talks about some proud people who plan a bunch of things for the next day—sure that they will happen. It’s not wrong to plan, other places recommend it in Scripture to live wisely. What’s wrong is imagining that we have control. You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.  Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 

‘If the Lord wills’ is key. The Lord’s will was not for Mom and me to socialize and shop. I don’t know why. I’m sure she doesn’t either. Neither of us wanted her to spend the week in pain—I’m sure she intensely didn’t want that! But as long as we are contained in fragile clay, things like that will happen to us that interfere with our best plans and dearest hopes. But we have a greater hope, the treasure within this clay. That can plan to live forever in an eternity without pain and complications. But for now, let’s remember that we can still serve our savior. As it says in 2nd Corinthians, Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 

Because cracked pots actually let more light through.

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