“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
This verse has been in the ceramics room at camp for as long as I can remember. I love the way God gives us everyday earthly things to use as illustrations of how big He is and how much He loves. It helps His small earthly people begin to understand the incredible majesty of God.
Many of us put out faith into Jesus but we still see areas in our lives that we want to change- sin we still fall into and patterns of life we know aren’t the most glorifying to God. We try to take things into our own hands but we have to begin to realize that we can’t be the clay and the potter.
WE are the clay and He is the potter. Clay can’t shape itself. We have to remember that just like clay we can’t be shaped outside of the potter’s hands. A piece of clay doesn’t turn into a bowl sitting on the table on it’s own- it has to be positioned in between the hands of the master to turn into something beautiful.
Anyone who has ever used a pottery wheel knows that the clay starts off lumpy and disfigured and then it has to be thrown and centered in the middle of the wheel. In the same way, as followers of Jesus we take our lumpy, imperfect lives and plant them to be centered in Christ. The center is where the change begins and then the outside follows.
Making pottery is messy- clay runs onto your arms, your shirts, all the way down to our shoes. Is this not the same for our lives?
We get ourselves into messes- hard situations, words we wish we could take back. The beautiful thing is that God isn’t afraid of our mess. He loved us so much to send His only son down into our mess to save us from it.
As we begin to walk with Jesus He has to begin shaping us- He puts force and pressure on parts of our lives that need to look different. At times this can be uncomfortable as we know God is asking us to say yes to say things that are outside of our comfort zone or begin to say no to things that aren’t glorifying to Him. He prunes us and takes away the useless and dead parts of our lives so we can begin to be more beautiful and more like Him.
We can find hope that we can’t be shaped without God’s constant hand on us and abiding in us. He stays with us. As an artist, your eyes are never taken off the work at hand just as Jesus’ eyes are always upon us.
He sees us. Once a piece of pottery is finished, it is barely recognizable from the lump of clay that it once was. The same is true of us; because of Jesus we are a new creation- the old has surely gone away and the new has come.