December 7, 2012 - The Potter and the Clay
By Ron Johnson
"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 'Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.' 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" (Jeremiah 18:1-4, ESV).
If you've had the opportunity to watch a potter at work, you know it's a wondrous process to behold. The potter starts by placing a lump of mud on a potter's wheel. The lump is hardly a thing of beauty at this point. Yet, even at this early stage the potter has in mind the type of vessel he is making. Despite the clay's total absence of form, with flaws clearly visible, the potter continues to work, molding the piece according to his desire.
As he works and the clay becomes dry and hard to mold the potter adds a little water making the clay softer and more pliable. Patiently, with painstaking care the master potter continues the process, molding the lump of mud and shaping and perfecting it into a beautiful piece of art.
What a beautiful illustration of how our Heavenly Father is at work in our lives using the everyday circumstances of life to shape and mold us into a beautiful vessel of honor for His glory.
I'm thankful our Heavenly Father is merciful and gracious to us, His children. Like children learning to walk, we stumble and fall. We are prone to wander and stray from the path set before us. When this happens our Heavenly Father with tender love gently reaches down and lifts us up, corrects us, and establishes our steps. Like the potter, God continues to work in our lives in order to bring forth the beauty only He can create.
A few years ago while going through a difficult time, I had a dream that was a great encouragement to me. In my dream I was an employee at a large corporation. However, I wasn't an ordinary worker. You see, my father owned this particular company. (An interesting detail is that in the dream I wasn't conscious of this fact. I knew it as the dreamer but not as the character in my dream.)
As the dream unfolded, it became apparent that even though I tried hard and was doing my best, I was a failure. The various managers would come to my dad with the news that I just wasn't working out in their area. With a gentle smile my father would merely reply, "We'll just move him over into another area; he's doing fine."
You see, in the dream my father had infinite wealth and resources. He also had a vast amount of patience as well. There was no question concerning my ultimate success. There was never any doubt that I would make it. My success was guaranteed because of who my father was, and he was watching over me. He was protecting and providing for me. If I didn't seem to work out in one area, it was no problem to move me into another position. I wasn't a failure; I was only in the process of learning. I only had to stay the course and continue the process set before me. Because of my father, my success was certain.
This is true in real life as well. Our Heavenly Father is the Supreme Governor of the universe. He is in control and is personally involved with our destiny. He will not let us down, but will continue to be faithful and fulfill His glorious plan for our lives.
Like the potter's clay, we all have flaws that mar our character. I know I am not yet what I will be; however, the Master Potter is still at work in my life. He hasn't thrown me aside but has me on His potter's wheel and is molding me into the person He desires. Even though I fail and fall short of perfection, my Heavenly Father is always there to pick me up and restore me. My ultimate success is guaranteed because of my Heavenly Father.
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand" (Psalm 37:23,24, NKJV).
— Ron Johnson is a freelance writer. He is retired from the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center.