SMACK! The potter throws down a lump of clay onto the potter’s wheel. The wheel spins round and round as the potter’s hands begin to work. Carefully kneading the lump, the potter works from the inside out until the clay begins to take the shape of a once only visualized vessel.
SMASH! The vessel looked complete, yet the potter smashes the soft vessel back into a lump of clay. Why? Although the vessel looked perfect, it was not exactly what the potter had in mind. The potter reaches down for more clay and adding it to the wheel, slowly kneads the two clumps of clay into one larger lump. He begins the process of re-creating, determined to master a larger vessel – one that would hold more than what it was initially capable. Tenderly kneading, the potter continues to work the clay until he is satisfied with the shape and size of the finished vessel. He prepares the kiln.
The kiln is brought to an incredibly intense fire. The vessel, although impeccably shaped and beautifully crafted, cannot hold what the potter desires, until it spends time in the fire. The potter knows just how much heat is enough to perfect his masterpiece. The vessel goes into the fire. The potter shuts the door and leaves for what seems an eternity.
Does this story sound all too familiar? Have you been on the potter’s wheel spinning round and round; feeling completely disoriented? Or have you felt like you were finally getting somewhere only for life to fall apart leaving you to start over? Your life has been rebuilt (even better than it was) and your relationship with God is going great, when suddenly you find doors begin to close on you—again! The heat turns up and you find yourself in a dry and fiery place with no trace of God to be found.
It is helpful to know that God takes us through this process not to punish us, but to perfect us. In those disorienting times when God shapes us on the wheel of life, close your eyes and feel God’s gentle hands embrace you. When life falls apart and God begins to do a new work in your life, feel His gentle hands in spite of everything. And when you are in a dry and fiery place, although you may not sense His hands surrounding you, know this: the fire will cause his fingerprints to become a part of you forever.
Let’s get back to our pottery story….
The potter returns for his vessel in the kiln. He douses the fire, and removes his creation. “Perfect”, he exclaims, “just as I had visualized. I will paint you with beautiful colors. You will be filled to the brim with new wine from my new wineskins. I will place you in the center of my banqueting table for everyone to partake of your contents and enjoy your beauty.”
God has incredible dreams and purposes for you, just as the potter had for his vessel. God’s hands are on you, and although He at times may seem distant, He is always with you. You are His handiwork designed for destiny. Don’t despise the shaping and re-shaping, the molding and remolding, or the heat. It all works together for your good. God’s promises are bigger than your problems. He is turning you, the rough clay into His royal child.
Written By: Chad Everett
Matthew 26: 31-56
Have you ever felt unworthy to be called “son” or “daughter” of God? Are you ashamed of things in your past? Do you think sins you currently struggle with keep you from God’s love? Contrary to what you may think or feel, God is not hindered by anything you have done or ever might do.
God is no stranger to disappointment. You only need to read the Old Testament to find plenty of opportunities for God to be disappointed. In fact, you can find examples in the New Testament as well. When God’s Son, Jesus, experienced the greatest need for friendship, all of His closest friends deserted Him.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus experienced such deep anguish that He started to sweat great drops of blood. While He was experiencing this, what were His “faithful” friends dong? They were sleeping. Jesus awakens them, and requests, “watch and pray”. However, when He returned, again He found them asleep. Jesus was going through one of the most emotionally challenging times in His life on earth, and His closest friends could not stay awake for just an hour to help Him through this.
Judas entered the garden with a mob to arrest Jesus. Judas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus walked and talked with Jesus. He had a close relationship with Jesus. Judas ended up betraying Him. We find that after Jesus was arrested, ALL of His disciples deserted Him. They all scattered! No one to pray with Him. No one to encourage His spirit. He went alone.
How Jesus interacts with His disciples after His death is remarkable to me! What would you do; how would you respond, should ALL of your friends desert you in your greatest time of need? What did Jesus do? He gave them charge over His greatest possession: His Church. That’s right. Jesus decides to place those who deserted Him in charge of building and caring for His Bride, the Church.
So…. If you think you’ve done something in your life that could possibly keep God from using you, think again. You are just the type of person God desires to use to build His Church. Nothing is outside the reach of God’s love. You are His delight. He takes great pleasure in your life. God doesn’t see you for what you have done. He sees you for whose you are and all you are meant to be. His “son”. His “daughter”.
I remember the first time I tried to change Lucas' diaper and clothes; he fought me everystep of the way. He'd kick and scream and flail his arms around, making the whole process nearly impossible. From his perspective he couldn't understand why I insisted every few hours on placing him on a table , stripping him down naked and then clothing him with different garments. However, I learned that when I talked to him in a gentle voice he would calm right down and let me take him through the whole ordeal. Does this sound familiar? How many times has God taken hold of us, stripped us down naked, and placed new clothes on us? How many times have we fought the change? However, from God's perspective He knows that the change will do us good. He wants to take the mess and filth out of our lives. He needs to cloth us in new and appropriate garments that will prepare us for the conditions that lie ahead. But isn't it true that when we listen and hear the voice of our heavenly Father that somehow the whole thing seems tolerable? Isn't it also true that when we look back over lives and see the changes that He orchestrated, we can see how perfect His decisions were? His changes were appropriate, purposeful, and good. We can trust Him, because He is a good Father.
I lay Lucas in his car seat, buckle him in his three point harness, pull a strap to cinch him in, and smother him in blankets. Glancing over his bag, I ensure there are ample diapers, bottles, medicine, and anything else I need just in case one of many possible fluids decides to escape his body. Positive that I have thought of everything I can think of, I pick up the Lucas-car seat contraption and head for the car. I open the backseat car door and click him into the car seat base. Now he is facing backwards staring out the back window, and his only point of reference to me is through a dim blurry mirror hanging on the backseat headrest. I start the car and we start moving down the road. At first he is intrigued by the novelty of the trip, but soon that wears off and he becomes fidgety. He begins to voice his concern by talking, which turns to a whimper and soon turns to a cry. He looks for my eye contact in the mirror. I glance at and smile with my eyes. My reassuring voice calms him down and eventually he falls asleep; taking a much needed rest. We arrive at our destination He is so excited! His father has taken him somewhere wonderful and unimaginable.
Can you relate to Lucas? No matter how hard we struggle, contort, and make every effort to change our position in life, nothing works; we’re immobilized. However, our Father understands that the journey ahead can be treacherous and if He doesn’t properly protect us could lead to our destruction. He has made every preparation to ensure our safe arrival. Leading us to His chosen vehicle, we instinctively want to be in the driver’s seat, but instead our Father places us in the backseat facing backwards. Looking out the back “20/20” window of our lives we can easily see how He has perfectly guided our way. Although, we can submit to his driving, at times it is frustrating for us not knowing where we are going or how long it is going to take to get there. We cry out for our Father’s attention*. Although we can barely see Him through the dim mirror**, He reassures us with His gentle voice and we begin to rest and rely on Him and His promises. Ironically, the more we rest, the faster we get to our destination. Have you ever experienced that as a child? You were on a long road trip with your family, fell asleep, and when you woke up you were already at Disneyland. It works that way as a grown up, too. The MORE we REST the faster we get to where He is taking us. He has a good and perfect plan for our lives***. He has thought of everything. He can be trusted. Rest assured, He is leading us to a wonderful and unimaginable place--our destiny.
*Psa 18:6 But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.
**1Cr 13:12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.
***Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In this passage Jesus states that the blind man wasn't born blind because of his sins or the sins of his parents. Instead, the man was born blind so the power of God could be SEEN in him. Jesus continues to explain that we ALL must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by God. Spitting on the ground, Jesus proceeds to make some mud with His saliva, smoothed the mud over the blind man's eyes, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. So the man went, washed, and came back seeing.
Isn't it comforting to know that our present circumstances do not dictate the scope of Christ's power? Our present troubles are designed to end. An end that is fashioned to bring God glory, and open spritually blind eyes. However, in the story above, Jesus told the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. According to the passage Siloam means "sent". The word sent in this passage is the same root word used for apostle - a messenger sent by God. I wonder how many of us are impatiently waiting around for our breakthrough. We have mud on our eyes, and completely believe that God is going to heal us, yet we haven't heeded Jesus' instructions - GO. God isn't waiting for us to be perfect, he is looking for us to be obedient. I know we cannot see where we are going, and we don't know how far away we are from the pool. I know it can be scary. But, the further our walk of faith is, the further our impact will be when we receive our breakthrough. The truth is we've already attained the promised breakthrough from Jesus Christ. We just need to walk it out in faith. In our blind faith walk to victory, think of how many lives we can lead to our Savior! Why don't we GO, and find out?