Today I was having lunch with my son at a Mexican restaurant in Champaign, and he was noticing some of the pottery that was used to decorate the place. He asked me if I had ever seen any of the black pottery that came from Mexico, and was telling me about how there was a black clay in a region of Mexico and how unique it was. His conversation got me thinking about making pottery. Long ago, in seemingly another lifetime, I originally started out my college career as an Art major, and I used to do some pottery in my art classes, so have used the potters wheel some.
Daniel got me to thinking about the process of making of a pot on the wheel, and the scripture passage in Jeremiah 18 came to mind where God speaks to Jeremiah through the work of the potter. That work on the wheel represents us and the process that we go through in the making and shaping of our lives.
As we drove home from Champaign tonight, I got to thinking about this more. Allow me to share with you some of the thoughts I had.
Imagine, if you will, that the beautiful pot you see above was able to speak to us. I believe the conversation would go something like this:
I wasn't always like this. At one time I was just a cold, dirty, wet lump of clay. One day the potter picked me up and said, "I can do something with this." Then he began to knead me and to pound on me to work out all of the air bubbles. He patiently continued to knead me, pausing now and then to pull out all of the pieces of stone and other impurities in me that would cause me to be marred and to break if they were left behind. Then he threw me onto the wheel and started to put pressure on me and change my shape. It hurt, and I asked him to stop because the pressure at times seemed to be too much to bear, but he said, "'Not yet." Then he began to spin the wheel around and around until I shouted, "Stop, I want to get off." Again he replied, "Not yet." He began to put more pressure on me, stretched and pulled on me and shaped me into the shape of a pot. Just as I thought I could take no more, he stopped and I thought it was over and I could rest. Just then he suddenly took a knife and began to cut at me! Again and again he cut pieces away and then he took other tools and began to scrape away at my surface and it hurt so that I screamed and asked him to stop... but once again he said, "Not yet."
Finally it all stopped and I was left alone to rest, and all seemed well for a few days. But just as I thought it was all over, he picked me up and put me into a hot oven and turned on the heat. I screamed at the top of my lungs, "STOP! Let me out of here! I can't take the heat! I'm suffocating!" But he looked at me with a knowing look and said, "Not yet."
Finally, the heat stopped, but I was left alone in that cold dark oven for what seemed an eternity. One day, the door opened and he took me out of the oven and I thought his work on me was over, but then he started to paint me with some stuff that smelled terrible and made me sting. I could not believe what he did next. He put me back into the oven and cranked up the heat again! I cried and I said, 'I can't stand this, please let me out!' But he said, 'Not yet.'
Finally he took me out of the oven and set me on a shelf where I sat for such a long time that I thought he had forgotten me. Then one day he took me off the shelf and held me up before a mirror. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had become a beautiful vessel, more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. All of a sudden he turned me over and began to scratch at my base and it hurt so bad. I could not imagine what he was doing at the time, but I learned that he put His mark on me so that anyone who saw me would immediately know who my maker was.
You know, there are things that go on in our lives that we don't understand. It hurts at times. We think we cannot take anymore and at times feel all alone. But it is a process that "The Potter" is taking us through. He has purpose, a plan, and when we finally get to the place God wants us to be, you and I will realize that He has been making you into a vessel of honor; one He can use, bless, and use to bless others.
So, allow God to shape you and leave His mark on you!