“Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand…” – Jeremiah 18:6
So it is that we are like clay in the hand of the potter. This image has resonated with me for many years. I find it comforting to think about being held so closely in His hands. The truth is that the clay that is me is imperfect and in need of a world class Potter to fix me up and make me beautiful.
When you look at the potter and his work, you realize that he has to get his hands dirty. He can’t sit there and will the clay to magically turn into a pot, he must be actively involved in its making. When one side of the pot starts to falter or crumble, the potter must rush to fortify it, lending his own strength to the failing wall. The potter molds the clay with a gentle, but firm hand. He cannot press too firmly, lest he pull the clay apart. He cannot keep his hands off of his creation, lest the clay fly all over the room as it spins round and round. When the pot is at last fortified, the potter fires it in the kiln, hardening it and preparing it for its purpose, for a purpose which he intends when he creates it.
Do you see how we are the clay and God is the potter? Because He loves us so deeply, He doesn’t sit on the sidelines and simply will us to become a pot or a bowl or whatever it is that He is making us. He gets His hands dirty. He humbles Himself to take on our humanity and literally get dirty with us (except for the fact that He doesn’t sin, of course). He is actively involved in our lives, whether we acknowledge His presence or not. When the world is spinning all around us, His are the hands that hold us steady and give direction to our lives. When we start to falter or crumble, He rushes to fortify us, to lend us a share of His mighty strength. He cannot press too firmly, lest we break, nor does He take His hands off of us, lest we fly all over. He holds us as we spin on the potter’s wheel, He keeps us close to Himself as He perfectly molds us into something beautiful. He makes each of us for a specific intention, a distinct purpose – a purpose only He knows. When the time is right – when His time is right – He places us gently in the kiln. He keeps His eye on us so that we don’t get over-cooked and burn and explode, but He makes sure that we are cooked exactly how long we need to be. We are made ready for His purpose.
Once we’ve spent the perfect amount of time in the kiln, He takes us out and allows us to be used for a specific purpose, which He has intended for us since He put together that first heap of clay. We serve His purpose and by so doing, we glorify Him, our Potter and our Creator.
“Yet, LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you our potter:
we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:7