In the Potter’s Hand
A wet glob of clay becomes an intricate vase or a lovely bowl. A potter has the incredible job of transforming, of taking an ordinary substance and creating something beautiful and useful. Jeremiah 18:6b says that we are like clay in God’s hands. God shapes us and transforms us.
After preparing the clay, the potter centers it on the wheel, applying pressure to make the wobbling clay settle down. The clay is centered when it is still, resting in the potter’s hands, even as the wheel turns.
How do we become centered and still in God’s hands, even when everything around us is spinning? With school, sports, friends, and activities, we rarely slow down. Yet it is moments of quiet reflection and times of prayer that make us clay God can mold. We need times of stillness so that the Potter can center us.
Once the clay is centered on the wheel, the potter uses a thumb or fingers to create an opening and to hollow out the base of the pot. Then, by pinching and lifting the clay, the potter gives the clay shape. Walls form, and the cylinder stretches upward.
Our lives grow and take shape as the Potter works with us. God’s hands form us through the daily challenges of life: the test we’ve been dreading all week, the friend who needs our encouragement, the sister who borrowed a favorite sweater again. We can harden our hearts in frustration, or we can let God mold us with hands of love. As we learn to look to God for grace and strength, we are stretched and shaped into the people we were created to be.
Going through fire is part of becoming. The hours of firing at high temperatures in a kiln make the piece durable. Without this step, the pot doesn’t hold water. Intense heat transforms the clay so that the pot can be used.
The heat gets turned up in our lives too. Intense pressure and difficult struggles test our faith. We are tempted to follow the crowd or to doubt God’s presence. We find ourselves in troubled relationships. Going through the fire isn’t easy. Given a choice, we would probably say, “No, thanks.” Yet just as the firing process makes the clay strong and useful, our times of testing strengthen us and prepare us for God’s purposes.
Once the potter has fired the piece, glazed it, and fired it again, the creation is ready to be used. It is beautiful and strong, a unique reflection of the potter’s creativity. As we are molded by God, lovingly stretched and shaped, strengthened by the fire of testing, and filled with God’s Spirit, we too become unique, beautiful creations, designed for good purposes.
Ordinary people in the hands of the Potter become vessels that hold the precious treasure of God’s Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:7). Amazing, isn’t it?
Which part of the process describes your life right now? Is God asking you to be still and centered? Are you being stretched and shaped or put through the fire? Can you imagine yourself being filled with God’s Spirit and used for good purposes? Spend a few minutes writing in your journal. Then rest in the Potter’s hands, knowing that you are God’s beautiful creation.
Remember Who You Are
- Created in God’s image. Genesis 1:26–31
- Knit together by God’s hands. Psalm 139:13–18
- Nurtured by God’s love. Hosea 11:1–4
- Molded by obedience. Luke 2:21–24, 39–52
- Strengthened by the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:1–16, 22–24
- Nourished in faith. 1 Timothy 4:6–16
—from devozine (September/October 2007). Copyright © 2007 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.