Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8
Do you remember the famous, romantic scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze at the potter’s wheel in the movie Ghost while “Unchained Melody” played in the background? I think pottery classes became the new sensation after its release in 1990!
If you have seen it, or have made clay pots, bowls, or jars yourself, then you understand the process and know how much work goes into it – kneading the raw clay to remove air bubbles, adding just enough water to make the clay stick together (it will crack from too much or crumble from too little,) planning the shape of the vessel, placing the clay in the middle of the wheel as you squeeze it to mold and shape it, baking it to harden it into a container, scrubbing off the impurities, and then painting and signing it, baking it again to set the glaze, and then proudly holding the finished product before you.
It is the same process that has been used for centuries, and we understand the importance of these clay vessels during early biblical times. How fitting that the prophet Isaiah chose to use this comparison in showing us how God molds, shape, and refines us into the individuals He desires us to be. What images that brings to mind!
In many ways, it is an amazing testament to God’s sovereignty over our lives – if we are willing to give ourselves to Him – to think of Him as the Potter and we, as the clay. He put much thought and planning into creating us, just as the potter does each vessel he makes.
How would our outward appearance look? What would our purpose be? If He placed us in the center of His love and attention, just as the clay was placed in the center of the wheel, would we remain there with Him, and let Him continue to mold and shape us throughout our lives? Just as the impurities were removed from the clay vessels to make them more useful, God will seek to remove our own, as He takes us through His “refining process“. He may test our genuineness of faith and commitment to Him, to see if we will be able to stand under undue pressure and prove to be useful for the work He has planned for us.
What a beautiful analogy of God taking the time to think about us, look upon us, work on us, knead us, place His hand upon us, lead us into and through the fire, glaze us with His anointing grace, and then place His name upon us, as His child. We can be assured that the “refining“ will come, and if we are found to be genuine, the Potter’s work will be done.
God has a picture in mind of who He created us to be, and if we will let Him make us into that being, He will give us unimaginable joy in this life and in the one to come. As he molds us, applies pressure in certain areas, and leads us into the “refining fires”, we may not like what we have to go through to become the transformed vessel He desires us to be. As painful and difficult as these experiences are, they are necessary.
Many of us may feel as if we have already gone through this process at some point in our lives, but others may lie ahead. One thing we can be assured of is that God will perfect us into His finished product. I pray that we can stay centered in Him and that He will be a constant source of strength, comfort, and love as He shapes us with His loving hands. A beautiful vessel will remain – deserving of His love and grace – one that will surely give Him honor and glory, and one worthy of an eternal home with Him.
Dear God, you are our Creator and Sustainer of life. You have made us and you continue to shape and mold us into the individuals you would have us be for your kingdom. May we let you work in us, in our lives, to become the beautiful “vessel” of your love and grace that you would have us be. Amen