Friday, November 7, 2014

Isaiah 64:6-8 -- On Hope and Clay

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Isaiah 64:6-8

This seems pretty harsh as a self-assessment of all of us... but I think we can all, at some point in our lives or another, relate.  We know we could be more, and do more, but we choose not to.  We don't call upon God, we try to do it all on our own, and we screw it up.  We feel like nothing... "less than the dust of the earth" (Helaman 12:7).  And there is a lot of truth to that.  We *are* unclean, and even our righteousness is like filthy rags compared to God.  There is a huge gap there that we never live up to.  But what interests me about this selection is that it doesn't stop there... just like we never should.
It's okay to see our faults and to realize that we need to change.  We need to realize that if we are going to become better.  But we can't just realize that and wallow in it, or give up.  We have to go past that to doing something about it.  In these verses, the hope is in the Lord.  He is our father, and we are the clay in his hand.  Even if we can't do anything with ourselves, we know that if we trust him, we can become something useful and beautiful.
Today, as we realize our faults and mistakes, let's also remember the other side of the equation: "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10).  He knows that we are filthy rags, but with his help we can wash up pretty well.  We can become our best selves as we trust his power to mold us into something better than we now are, and participate in the process.

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