Why Hast Thou Made Me Thus?
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We want to continue our discussion on the series which we have followed for sometime now, Questions Which Demand An Answer . When we use this theme, we are not talking about Bible questions that you might turn to chapter and verse and find the answer. We are not talking about biblical information. We are talking about those questions with which we are faced in life and which demand an answer. They demand an answer for our own peace of mind. They demand an answer for our own welfare. They demand an answer for guidance in what needs to be done, and I am glad to say today that the questions which demand an answer are not new. They have been asked by others before. They have been recorded in the Word of God, and the solution to the problem which gave rise to the question is always given.

Notice what I said. The solution to the problem which gave rise to the question is always given in the Word of God. There are some questions which arise in life for which we do not have the answer and on this side of Heaven we will never have the answer; but the solution to the problem which caused the question to be raised is always given in God's Word.

Today I want you to think with me about a question, “Why hast Thou made me thus? God, why did You make me this way? Why am I this way?”, and with that question, all of the side issues that are involved in it. This is a very important question in our day, perhaps more important than in any other day because of the advancement in science and medicines, so that individuals today can be told, parents can be told to some degree (Notice what I am saying. I do not want to be misquoted.) what kind of offspring they are going to have. There is a feeling on the part of some today that if the child which is about to be born is less than perfect, as we think of that word in regard to the birth of a baby, there is just cause to terminate the pregnancy. That is related to this question, “Why hast Thou made me thus?” Why does God let things like this happen?

Only recently we prayed for a precious little baby, who evidently was born with an aorta that was not properly formed, with a hole in the wall between the chambers of his heart. He has already undergone one surgery and will have to undergo other surgery when the doctors feel that he is able to undergo them. The question could well be, on the part of that child were he to speak, “God why hast Thou made me thus?” Parents and loved ones, not in rebellion, but simply because it is a tremendous shock to realize that little one which you love so much has got problems ask, “God, why? God, why hast Thou made me thus?”

This is the question we want to consider with you today. I would like for you to turn in your Bibles to the book of Romans, chapter 9. As you turn to that portion of the Word of God, let me share with you that the Apostle Paul is describing a situation that grew out of the manner in which God dealt with the nation of Israel. Because God dealt with the nation of Israel in the manner in which He did, the Apostle Paul said, in verse 14:

Romans 9:

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

If you will look at verse 20, you find clearly stated there, the question we are considering, “Why hast thou made me thus?” We do not have time for an exposition of Romans, chapter 9, but it will be helpful for us to have a bit of the Word concerning the background of the text which we are considering together. I said to you that it was based upon the fact that God did certain things in regard to the nation of Israel to accomplish His divine purpose. He had a job for Israel to do. In order to bring that thing to pass, He had to do things that seemed terribly unfair and terribly unjust.

Background of the Text

A very brief summary of that background is given in verses 8-13 of this chapter. You will notice in verse 8:

Romans 9:

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

You will want to center your attention on that last statement: “…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Abraham had married Hagar out of the will of God. To that union was born a son, Ishmael. Hagar, Sarah and Abraham for a time all thought that God's promise to Abraham concerning Abraham as the progenitor of the nation of Israel would bless the world through Ishmael, and God said, “That can't be.” So He performed a miracle in the womb of Sarah and Isaac was born. Then God said to Abraham, “Your seed is going to be called, not through Ishmael, but through Isaac.

There began a battle that exists to this day. The Edomites, the Moabites, the Palestinian organization that is attacking Israel today and vice versa is part of the problem that began back yonder. God said, “I have to change the whole picture. Later in another generation, Esau was born. He was the firstborn and everything should have come down to him, but God said, “No, I have made the decision on the basis of My sovereign will and wisdom that Jacob is going to be the leader instead of Esau for a very simple reason.” Esau was a profane man dedicated to the idea of the flesh, and Jacob (although from some of his actions it is hard for us to believe) was a spiritual man dedicated to the cause of God. So to explain that relationship, God said, concerning these two boys, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

All through the years I have had to deal with people who are distressed by that statement. How could God love one and hate another? The simplest thing to do is to keep in mind that that is a relative statement. It is a matter of choice. If you study the record that is given in the Word of God, you will find that God cared just as much for Esau, provided just as much for Esau as He did for Jacob, but because of God's purpose and plan, there was a choice made. God loved Jacob; God hated Esau. God made a choice and God made a decision and God performed an act. Out of that choice, out of that decision, there arose this question we are considering today: “Why hast Thou made me thus?”

Having given you the background so that you will know that we haven't just taken a verse out of some part of the Word of God and put it out by itself and built something around it, I want you to table that background, as far as the rest of our discussion goes, and look at the question as it applies to you and to me. “Why hast Thou made me thus? God, why did You make me this way?”

Physical Affliction

This question, if we limit our remarks to illustrations given in the Word of God, is a question that is raised in a number of different areas all down through the ages. One of the areas in which it is raised is in regard to what I am going to call physical affliction, using the term very generally and very broadly. Sometimes we speak now of retarded children; sometimes we speak of exceptional children. Whatever term we use, we use a term that describes children who have problems which have to be dealt with—afflictions, imperfections, whatever.

We ask the question, quite often I say, in regard to physical affliction, and one of the interesting illustrations of the question asked in that area is recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 9. If you turn there with me the words will become immediately familiar to you. We read from verse 1:

John 9:

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents…

Let's stop right there because really that is where the story ends. Here is man who was born blind, and people in that day were no different than people in our day. They had to have a reason. Why would this little baby be born blind? Their sense of sight was limited, so they said, “I wonder if his parents sinned and if the birth of this blind baby is a judgment on the parents?”

Then to show you how ridiculous the silly frothing of men can be, they said, “Did this baby sin?” Think about that for a moment. How in the world could a little baby just being born into the world be accused of sin? You see, when we try to solve problems on a human level, when we try to find the answer to perplexing problems on the basis of what we might dream up as a reason, how ridiculous we can be.

Did you notice what the Lord Jesus Christ did? I think if we had been there that day, we would have heard Him speak rather sharply when He said, in verse 3, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents have sinned…” “Don't be silly. His parents didn't sin and he didn't sin. Sin has nothing to do with it.”

Now notice what He said:

John 9:

3 …but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

I read that passage rather hurridly so that you would not be tempted to stop as many people do at the end of verse 3. Many people stop there. “Why was this child born blind? Did his parents sin? Did he sin?” “No,” Jesus said, “they didn't sin.” “Well then, why was he born blind?” Then Jesus, so some folk think, said, “That the works of God might be glorified.”

What a terrible aspersion, what a terrible way to malign God, to say that God would deliberately permit a child to be born into the world so that He might have a backdrop to manifest His glory. It irritates me that people would malign God in that way. Of course, that was not the reason, and if you read the passage as I read it, you see that Jesus did not mean that. Jesus did not answer the question, “Why was the child born blind?”, other than to rebuke their foolish assumption that sin was involved. He said, “The child is born blind and now I must work the works of God. Here is an opportunity for the works of God to be manifest. Here is an opportunity for Me to work while there is still time to work.” And He worked.

Let me say in a bit of a digression, although it is needed, if we could look upon all of the problems that drive us to ask the question, “Why hast Thou made me thus?”, as an opportunity for God to work the works of God and to bring glory to His name, my, what a wonderful thing it would be. Someone asked me, concerning a little baby who needed extensive medical work to repair the imperfections with which he was born, “Do you think people ought to do that? If God let that baby be born that way, why not just let the baby live that way? Why interfere with something that God has done?”

Oh my! The reason I know God is a God of mercy is that He puts up with us. We are so foolish, so foolish. Here is an opportunity to work the works of God and if God is pleased to work the works of God through the skill of men who are able with their hands and their wisdom to repair imperfections, it is an opportunity to do it. It is something that will bring glory to God. Yes, we ask the question often in the area of the physical, “Why hast Thou made me thus?”

Personality Traits

We can't dwell on that too long because there are other things that need to be said, and I want to share with you that quite often we ask this question in regard to personality traits. “Why God, did You make me this way?” Personality traits. What can I say? Time does not permit to look at all the traits with which you are familiar and about which you have wondered, but let's look at an example or two from the Word of God.

Here is Esau and Jacob. We referred to them a moment or two ago. Esau was profane and Jacob was spiritual, and it was not all together because of their development. It was related to their tendencies. Esau could have said, “God, why did you make me love in the flesh so much? Old Jacob over there—it is easy for him. He has a tendency to be spiritual.”

Mary and Martha. Martha didn't ask God so much why He made her that way, but she asked Him why He made Mary that way. Martha was always busy about much service. If you study her life, she was full of personality traits that hindered her. Mary was quite content to relax. You have had experiences like that. You know people who are able to breeze through anything. Nothing bothers them and you get up tight about nearly everything, and you find yourself saying, “God, why did You make me this way? Why didn't You make me like them?”

There are people who are always happy, people who are joyful, people who love to be doing things and you wish you were like that. God makes each one of us different and we ask the question in regard to personality traits, “God, why did You make me like this? Why didn't You make me like someone else?”

Our Position in Life

Let me suggest another area in which the question is asked. As I make these suggestions, if you are thinking, most of us have said, “Yes, I have felt that way. I might not have actually said it to God, but I have felt that way.” We ask this question often in regard to our position in life.

I have asked you to turn to I Corinthians, chapter 12, just so you can glance at it. Many of you are familiar with it. In verses 12-27, we are given an illustration of how God puts Christians in the Body of Christ in regard to one another much as the members of our bodies are related to one another. He puts us in those positions in the Body of Christ that we might serve effectively because He knows the position in which we will serve the most effectively. If we wanted to limit our discussion just to the Body of Christ, we could find ourselves saying, “Lord, why did You make me a big toe that has to be covered up with a smelly, thick sock all the time? God, why couldn't You have made me an eye? Why couldn't You have made me an ear?”

Some folk, I guess, would say, “Why couldn't You have made me a mouth?”, and when we know them we say, “Thank God, He didn't.” We are unhappy where we are. We are unhappy with our position in the Body of Christ. On a much broader sense, we are unhappy about our position in life. We ask the question, “God, why is it that I work hard, and God, You know that I do, and I can barely eke out an existence; I can barely feed my family. I never have anything left over for anything, and Lord, here is so and so over here and they don't look like they do any more than I do. They don't look like they are any better than I am, Lord; they waste more money on foolishness than I feed my family with. Lord, why have You make me this way? Why have You put me in this position?”

I think you are following me and I don't think there is any need to go further in giving illustrations and examples of the areas in which this particular question was asked; but before we get to the solution to the problem, I would like for us to understand something because we will never understand the solution unless we understand that this question, “Why hast Thou made me thus?”, is always considered an unbecoming question. It is something that you really, if you knew the rest of what I am going to tell you before we are through, if you believe the rest of what I am going to tell you, you would realize that you are completely out of place in saying to God, “God, why hast Thou made me thus?”

I am not suggesting that you keep these feelings pent up within you until you can stand it no longer, then burst out in a sudden act of rage. I am not saying that. I am saying that when we know the truth of the Word, we will realize that we should not ask the question, “Why hast Thou made me thus?”

One illustration of how unbecoming it is is found in the book of Romans, chapter 9, and notice a verse which we have read already in our discussion, but we look at it from a different standpoint. In verse 20, we read:

Romans 9:

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

That is our question, but how dare you ask a question like that. “Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, ‘Why hast thou made me thus'?” Who are you to reply against God? Who are you to question God? The idea that you, the work of God's hand, a mere creature, would look up into the face of God and say, “God, I don't like the way You made me. I don't like it, and I'm not going to live with it. I want it different. I don't like it at all.” Who are you to reply against God?

If you catch the sense of the verse, you recognize that there is a feeling of utter amazement that you would question the wisdom of God. Now, in Isaiah, chapter 29, verse 16, the question is asked again, but asked in a way that illustrates to ask such a question is literally turning things upside down, getting things all together out of proportion to reality as a matter of fact. You see here the very idea of turning things upside down is brought to our attention. Notice in verse 16:

Isaiah 29:

16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

This passage of Scripture is found in an incident in the life of Israel when she decided to turn her back on the advice of God and go down into the land of Egypt. She suffered for her folly and she began to blame God for it and to say that God did everything wrong. The prophet said, “You're turning things upside down when you say a thing like that. You are the potter's clay. Here is the potter. You are putting yourself above God, and you are saying to God, ‘You didn't do this thing right, God'.” As we are going to see in a moment, it went a little bit deeper, “You are saying, ‘God, You didn't know what You were doing in the first place'.”

I don't know how many of us have reached that place in our lives where we have been that deliberate in what we have said to God. I don't know how many of us have been that bitter where we have said to God, “God, You just don't know what it is all about,” but these folk did, all when they were bothered because of things they could not understand.

Turn to Isaiah, chapter 45, and we find the incongruity of asking a question like that described in verse 9 because there we discover that earthenware things should talk to earthenware things. You should criticize people on your own level. Chapter 45 of the book of Isaiah is God's discussion of Cyrus, a man who was not born again, a man whom God had chosen to be His servant to accomplish His purpose. Yes, sometimes God does use wicked men to accomplish His purpose. Sometimes He passes over godly men to use wicked men to accomplish His purposes. That does not mean that He endorses the wicked man; it simply means that that is His right as sovereign God to do as He will, and here in chapter 45 of the book of Isaiah, God mentions how foolish it is for individuals who question the wisdom of God in regard to activities such as we are discussing because they are on a different level than God. Look at verse 9:

Isaiah 45:

9 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? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Notice the phrase, “Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.” That word potsherd simply refers to a piece of pottery made out of earth, and that is the reason I say that earthenware things strive with earthenware things. That is what Isaiah said. “Don't go around striving with God about these things. You are in no position to strive with God. You are in no position to question God. If you have anything to fuss about, fuss about it with people on your own level, but don't fuss about it with God because you are not capable of fussing about it with God.”

You are not helped very much, are you? You pretty well know deep down inside, that you have no business questioning God, so what is the point of all of this? That is the answer: “God, why hast Thou made me thus?” Can we tune our ear to Heaven and hear God say, “My child, I will tell you why I made you that way.”? No, we can't. There is not any answer of any illustration in the Word of God which indicates that God has ever or will ever tell you why He did it; but God has laid down some principles in the Word of God which will enable you to live with the situation with which you are faced, which will enable you to see that in some instances you are a privileged person because God made you the way He made you, which will enable you to see that God has opened a door of wide opportunity because He has given to you some child whom you maybe have wondered why He made this child in this fashion.

Recognition of God's Sovereignty

I want to share with you in the remaining time that we have today some principles which if we recognize will enable us to see this thing in its right perspective. The first thing I would suggest to you is that there must be a recognition of God's sovereignty. If you are paying attention, you know that we are going back and forth from Scripture to Scripture that we have looked at, at another time in this discussion, but we go back because we are making a particular point at a given time. We now make another point. What we are saying to you is that when the question arises in your mind, “God why am I made this way? Why am I in this situation? It is so unfair. It is so unreasonable. God why?”, you must recognize the sovereignty of God as illustrated in Romans, chapter 9, verse 16, where God said:

Romans 9:

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

What does that mean? It doesn't matter what you will and it doesn't matter what you run or how you run because you are still an unprofitable servant. It is God's mercy.

I met a man this week and I said to him, “How are you?” He said what he always says to me, “Better than I deserve.” Then I said to him what I always say, “Thank God I don't get what I deserve.” And I mean that. You see, who are we who deserve nothing but the mercy of God anyway? You see, we have no claim on God. God does not owe us anything. “It is not of him who will or him that runs, but it is God who shows mercy.” The idea is that God is in charge. Look at verse 19:

Romans 9:

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

What are we reading? “Well, if it is all up to God, why does God blame us for anything we do? We can't resist His will. If that is the way it is going to be, that is the way it is going to be.”

That is exactly what the Devil loves for people to think because it creates a fatalistic attitude on the part of people whereby they do not even seek the will of God about anything. Now notice verse 21:

Romans 9:

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

He is the potter. Does He not have the right to make this vessel to honor and one of dishonor? Does God have the right to do that? Does He? If He is God, if He is sovereign, He has that right. We must recognize that no matter what God does to us we have no right to question it.

I can hear any number of people saying, “I don't like that. I don't like that and I don't want to live that way.” Well, that is your privilege, but you are going to have a whole lot more peace if you recognize that God is sovereign and that God can do what He wills to do. God, as sovereign, is a God who can do what He wants to do without asking you.

Confidence in Wisdom of God

Someone may say, “That is hard; that is cruel.” Let me offer two more things to you that will help it to be a bit easier. The second one is confidence in the wisdom of God . When you and I learn to have confidence in the wisdom of God, then we will be able to relax and we won't be asking the question in rebellion, “Why hast Thou made me thus?”

Go back to the book of Isaiah, chapter 29, and notice verse 16:

Isaiah 29:

16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or [notice carefully] shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

“Lord, why hast Thou made me thus?” God might say to us, “When you ask Me that question, are you saying that I didn't know what I was doing? When you ask Me that question, are you saying that I don't know what it is all about?”

Stop and think about it for a moment. That is exactly what we are doing when we say to God by way of complaint, “God, why hast Thou made me thus?” We are saying, “God, why did You make me this way? You must not have known what You were doing or You wouldn't have done it this way.”

We must have faith in the wisdom of God. We must believe His ways are right. Remember what He said in Isaiah, chapter 55, verses 8-9:

Isaiah 55:

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It is impossible for us to ever understand fully the ways of God. What can you do about it—chew your fingernails and say, “God, I don't understand this.”? You can take the step of faith that the Psalmist took recorded in Psalm 131, verse 1. He said: “I will not concern myself with matters that are too high for me.”

Some folk have said that that is a cop-out if you just won't think about it if you can't solve it. That is not what the Psalmist said. The Psalmist said, “I have confidence in God enough to know that the judge of all the earth doeth right and therefore I am not going to concern myself with matters too high for me.”

Confidence in God's Will

One other thought I would leave with you today. If you are going to live with these questions, not having the answer to the problems that it creates, I am going to suggest that there is going to be a need on your part of confidence in the skill of God. Some folk do not have confidence in His wisdom. There are other folk who do not have confidence in His skill. Back to Isaiah, chapter 45, this time beginning with verse 11:

Isaiah 45:

11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

God is in complete charge of the whole situation and for that reason go back to verse 9, which we read earlier. There is no point in the potsherd striving with the potter:

Isaiah 45:

9 …What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

I want you to think about that last statement for just a bit because if you read it the way it is in the King James text, you read it the way it is in The New American Standard Version , it would seem to suggest that God made a work that didn't have any hands. Really, that is not what the original text is saying. What it is saying is this, “Should thy work say to God, ‘You have no skill'?” Think about it. Here is a child born less than perfect. What do we do? “God, why did You make this child this way?” Do we become bitter or do we say, “God, I have perfect confidence in Your skills. You didn't make a mistake. There is a reason. There is a purpose.”

When you and I have learned to recognize God as sovereign—He can do what He will—when you and I learn that confidence in the wisdom of God that He always does that which is right, when you and I learn to have confidence in the skill of God, that nobody can do it any better than He can, then we can say, when we find ourselves in a place that we do not particularly like, “God, why has Thou made me thus? God thank You for this Your creation. Now, what is there for me to do?”

God as the Potter

My last word to you is concerning God as the Potter. You are familiar with the story of Jeremiah who needed to go down to the potter's house to learn a lesson. Read it when you have time in Jeremiah, chapter 18, verses 1-6. There are two doctrines taught in that one passage of Scripture—the doctrine of surrender and the doctrine of the second chance.

Remember, that clay was marred in the hands of the potter. Read the passage carefully with related passages and the original text in mind and you will discover that it wasn't the potter who made the mistake. It was something in the clay that made it impossible for the potter to make the vessel he wanted to make. That is the doctrine of surrender. Stay pliable in the hands of the potter, and He will be able to make a vessel that will be for His glory.

The doctrine of the second chance—you read that story carelessly and you get the idea that the potter took the clay from off the potter's wheel and slung it on the heap and started all over again. That is not what happened. He took that same clay and made it into another vessel. So much emphasis is placed so often on the first part of the story that he could not make it into what he wanted to that little emphasis is placed upon the second part of the story—he made it into another vessel. Thank God today for the doctrine of the second chance.

Conclusion

If God has put you in a situation where you say to Him, “God, why have You made me this way?”, recognizing all of the things that I have shared with you, then say, “God, here I am in this situation. You make out of it that which will bring glory to your name.” I guarantee you that you will be amazed at what God will do because God loves to work with pliable clay in the right situation.


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