*I’m going to try something a little different starting with this post. I will begin including an audio version of each post at the end so you can listen or read, whichever you prefer and your schedule allows. I’d love your feedback on this as well. If it’s a hit, I’ll keep doing it. If it doesn’t add, I’ll take things back to normal. Thanks for your gift of time to read–and now listen. Blessing to you!
“Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, 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.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This image is at one and the same time incredibly comforting, but also challenging. The comfort is fairly obvious. God is the master potter. He is making a beautiful piece of art out of our lives. Like any great potter, He has a goal in mind. As He works the clay, though, sometimes imperfections rise to the top. This doesn’t scare Him or somehow derail His plans. He smooths out the rough places and incorporates the imperfections so that they become unique parts of His design. And, if something happens that causes us to break, He can repair us and leave us even more beautiful than when we started. This sounds like the kind of God who is worth serving.
The challenge here, though, is equally obvious. If God is the potter and we are the clay, that means He has total control over our lives. The clay doesn’t get to give any input to the potter as to its final design. The clay merely sits there waiting to be molded. Whether or not the clay likes the particular design the potter is working into it makes no difference whatsoever. It may have grand designs, but if the potter intends for it to be used for more common purposes, that is what’s going to happen. And, if the clay proves too stubborn to work with, the potter can throw it to the scrap heap and start over with a new lump. The idea of serving this God is much less palatable to us than the other.
And yet, the Scriptures are clear that both are accurate images of our God. He lovingly shapes and molds our lives with an end in mind that will be to our great joy and His great glory. He works gently with our rough places and is never surprised or thrown off by our weak places and failings. At the same time, He is the potter and we are clay. We don’t get a say in what He’s doing. We can work with Him, but resisting Him is futile and will ultimately lead to our destruction. If we are willing to trust Him, though, the final design He will give us will be beautiful beyond words. It will be functional and also fabulous. It will leave us grand enough for a museum display and useful enough that everyone needs us around.
The journey to reach this place will not be easy. It will mean getting pressed and pressured by the potter’s hands. It will mean going through the fire of the kiln. It will mean being left seemingly alone to dry and become strong. But the end will make it all worth it. Let us embrace being clay so that the potter can make us beautiful.