The wheel began to spin. The potter dipped his hands into water and pressed them into the center of the clay, creating a deep bowl. With a wooden tool called a “rib,” he gently raised the sides of the bowl to produce a vase. With slow, graceful movements, he created ridges and curves in the vase, fashioning a work of art. Because of his skill and experience, he did all this in less than a minute.I watched this process, in awe of how confidently the potter worked. I was uncertain how a lump of gray, formless clay could turn into something beautiful. But the potter knew. The picture he must have envisioned in his mind easily became reality as he applied his hands to the clay and molded it into something others would find lovely and useful.
Part of the process intrigued me more than the rest. As the potter made the clay bowl taller and gave it shape, he trimmed away the excess clay he didn’t need. But hardly any clay was wasted. He saved the excess in a bucket to use later.God is a master potter. He takes empty, broken hearts and makes them new and whole. He shapes our hearts and character to be like His Son, beautiful and “useful for the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21 NKJV). He works with confidence, fashioning us into the image He has in mind—full of love, strength, goodness, and the ability to make a difference.
Nothing is wasted. However God trims away the “excess” from our hearts and minds, He uses all of our experiences for good (Romans 8:28). The trials and tests we go through trim away the attitudes and desires that will only damage our lives and mar the work of art God is making. Our trials may put pressure on us and squeeze us, but God won’t let the trials break us beyond repair. He is waiting for us to look to Him and respond in the right way. In the Potter’s hands, we are safe, because He loves us so much and He never lets us bear more than what we can handle. He uses both the hard times and the good times to mold our character, build our faith, and strengthen our resolve. In God’s hands, we become beautiful reflecting the love of Christ, and we become vessels that He can use to touch those around us.“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NKJV).
If you ever have the chance to visit Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, visit the Old Mill Square and its pottery shop! Or check out their website at http://www.oldmillsquare.com/pottery.htm.