I have always been drawn to, and intrigued by, the story about the potter and the clay in Jeremiah 18. I love the thought that depicts God forming each one of us on His wheel, making each pot according to His desire and plan.
Recently, I had the opportunity to have a go at making a small pot on a potter’s wheel, and I was impacted by the whole process. First of all, the clay has to be placed on the wheel totally dry, just as it is, and water is applied to it liberally while the potter spins the wheel at just the right speed, his hands surrounding the clay and holding it firmly, gently pressuring it to find the central point. The clay has to be totally centred on the wheel, or else it wobbles like mad and can’t be shaped without distortion and risk of being ruined. It then has to be raised up, before it can be pressed down to make the pot envisaged by the potter. Strong and firm, but gentle, pressure is kept up to shape and form the pot into something useful or beautiful. All during this process, the clay has to be kept wet and malleable, or it will become marred in his hands.
What an amazing picture of what the Lord does with us. We come to Him dry and useless, and He gives us His Holy Spirit, by whom He starts the process of transformation. He has to get us totally centred in Himself, otherwise we wobble and go off at tangents which are detrimental to our wellbeing. This process of centring the clay is very skilful (one I did not have!) and takes a lot of patience and sensitivity.
Once we’re totally centred in Him (fully committed) then He can start to raise us up and get us to the point of total trust, so He can put pressure on us to be conformed to the image in His heart. Throughout this process, we constantly need the water of the Holy Spirit to prevent us from becoming dry and hard again and useless in His hands. We need to be malleable, so He can form us into whatever He wants. It’s encouraging for us too that He holds us securely and firmly in His hands.
Why do we so often resist this process? We perhaps think we know better what shape or in what direction we want to go, or we’re afraid of what He’ll do. But God is the Potter, and He knows what He planned for each one of us, in love, before the creation of the world. Let’s trust Him and allow Him to do what He will with us, even if it’s different from what we hoped for. It will turn out to be the best for us, and much better than anything we could come up with.
Prayer: Father, forgive me when I resist Your work in me and try to go my own way. Help me to focus on Jesus, the centre of life to me, and to fully commit to You and Your ways. May I always be malleable in Your loving hands, and allow You full access to every area of my being.
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