Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scriptural Sundays: He is the Potter, I am the Clay

If you’ve ever lost a parent, grandparent or loved one at all, you probably understand what I’ve been going through these past 2 ½ months. Learning to live life without someone who’s been there everyday of your life is not fun. In fact, quite frankly it sucks!

And when that person is your parent, I think it’s even more difficult. Now, I know I’ve been married for nearly 9 years now, but I was still a Daddy’s girl. And my mom…she’s my best friend! I have always been close to my parents – with the exception of a few years in there that we’ll just skip over and never talk about again!!

I talk to my mom and grandma everyday. I didn’t talk to my Dad every day, cause…well…guys just don’t do that. But my parents only live 7 houses down from me so he was only a few seconds away if I needed him. I could be at their house literally seconds and see him. Give him a hug. Listen to his laugh.

Oh how I have taken life for granted. All. Of. It.

These past two months have been difficult, to say the least, but as with any trial and situation (good or bad), God has been teaching me and molding me. Again. Just like a potter and his clay. Have you ever watched a potter spin a new creation? I have. In fact, a former professor of mine in college is a potter. And on several different occasions, he was asked to come and demonstrate how to make a pot. But, it wasn’t until I saw a demonstration that I understood what God meant in Jeremiah 18:3-4 “So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” (ESV) and in Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (ESV, italics mine.)

Watch this video to see a demonstration, before reading the rest of my post. Trust me…it will make MUCH more sense!

So, how does this relate to our lives as Christians? Let’s break it down.
1. Before ever putting the clay on the wheel, the potter does some shaping. Actually, he’s softening the clay so that it will be more pliable and responsive to his hands. Sound familiar? Doesn’t God try to shape us in His hands? Sometimes we may be tossed around a bit, but it’s simply so we’ll become more open and willing to listen and follow Him.

2. Then, the clay is literally thrown on the wheel. Not tossed or placed neatly…thrown…hard. Why? Because he needs a firm foundation for the vessel he’s creating. If it’s not “stuck” down, the spinning wheel will cause it to become lop-sided or even fly away. Once God has completely broken us and we’re pliable, ready to be molded, He starts from the bottom up. He teaches us what it means and how to have a firm foundation.

3. Then the potter starts the wheel spinning and begins by putting some water over the clay for yet…more softening. Doesn’t God do the same with us? After He’s thrown us down to reshape us, he starts out with gentleness and kindness (the water) to begin molding us.

4. Then, he begins molding the shape he envisioned. Occasionally he will put water on his hands to make the clay easier to work with. The potter must keep the clay pliable and easy to work with as he continues to push and pull using his own power to manipulate the clay into what he wants. If it doesn’t cooperate, he will simply pick it up and throw it back down to start over.

How often has God done this with us or maybe someone we know? Sometimes we’re stubborn and God must use his power and might to change us into who HE sees us as. Who He wants us to be. We are his “vessels” and are at the will of him. To be used by Him and for Him. And, if we’re stubborn, God will “throw” us back down only to go through the process again. Only this time…He might be a little harder on us.

5. Once the vessel is completed and exactly what the potter envisioned he then puts it in the kiln to set it. Now I did some reading about this part, so bear with me here. When firing the vessel, the temperature must be monitored very closely. There are many stages in the firing process (read all about them here if you like), but a couple things really stand out for our discussion here.
    1. There is a maturation temperature of clay. Each type of clay has its own maturation. Once it’s reached, “the clay will have the desired density and, upon cooling, will have attained a rigidity of structure. Once this happens, the firing is stopped. If it continues and a higher temperature is reached, “the clay will continue to melt and vitrify; it may become molten or quite soft, and warp or change its shape and may become extremely dense, hard and brittle upon cooling.
    2. On the other hand, if the clay is underfired, “it may become too porous and soft upon cooling. Heavier clay objects require a more gradual temperature rise than lighter, thin-walled” vessels. (Information from  here.)
So many parallels in this!!!! I’m getting excited…can you tell? But, seriously…the kiln is temperamental, just like we humans can be. If it’s too hot, the vessel will melt and if it’s not hot enough, the vessel will crumble – eventually.

So after God has shaped and molded us into His vision for our lives, he puts us through the fire to “set it” for keeps – permanently. Now, hear me on this…I believe that we, as humans, have free-will. I do not believe our “destiny” is set in stone to the point that we have no choices. I believe we have choices, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit is there to guide us and direct us, so long as we listen. God keeps us in the “fire” to strengthen us to the point of firmness. A firm grasp of God’s love for us that can not easily be broken.

But, if we resist and pull ourselves out of the “fire” too soon…we will be so fragile that we could break at any moment. And then it’s back to the molding stage we go. Because when you glue the broken pieces back together and fill the vessel with water, there will likely be leaks. They may be small, but over time the pressure of the water will continue to expand and eventually it will break…again. And, there’s only so many times you can glue it back together before you need to just start over with a new one.

So…all of this to say…I have been broken, worn down, tired and beaten. But, my God is molding me, reshaping me and putting me through the fire yet again. And by His grace, I will be stronger in my faith, more able to share my beliefs and more willing to follow His will for my life. And I…I am ready!

What has the Lord been teaching you lately? Please share in the comments or feel free to link up to a post that shares your story. We can all learn and be encouraged by each other.


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Kasey @ TFOMplus2 said...

This is absolutely beautiful and so exactly what He does with us. Saying a prayer for your sweet, hurting heart!

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

Thank you for your prayers, Kasey! Knowing that people are praying for me (and my family) help me make it through each day just a little easier. They are truly felt.