Being molded by clay, how beautiful

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lately, I've been thinking about clay.

I've always been fascinated that something beautiful can be made from a gray hunk of doughy material. It's amazing that something that starts out as kind of ugly and with no clear purpose can, by the person with the right talent and skill (this is not me), be transformed into something useful, beautiful and admirable that takes my breath away.

God calls us the clay in his hand in Jeremiah 18. The verse that especially strikes me is Jeremiah's observation about how the potter interacts with the clay in verse 4: "But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands, so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him."

I love the wisdom, faithfulness and love this verse shows about our God, the potter. When we place our lives in his hands, he takes the parts that are marred and imperfect, and lovingly shapes it into his best, his beautiful. With all the passion and careful perseverance of an artist devoted to the lump of clay before him, he shapes us into the breathtaking design he desires us to be.

Sometimes I get really impatient waiting for this to happen. Waiting on God and his timing is so hard. When I can't see God working in huge ways in my life, it's tempting to think he isn't at work in my life at all. I wonder why he seems to have left me living day to day with no clear answers or revelations.

The other day as I was listening to JoyFM radio, the DJs were discussing how clay has to dry before it's finished and ready to be used. I love the image of the artist placing their creation in a special place on a shelf, so excited for the time it will be ready to be used for the purpose they created it for, the reason they've been working so hard on it. They don't ever forget about it during this process, but they know their hard work of shaping is complete, and that it has to dry before it can be used.

I think God gives us "drying" seasons in our lives, too. These are the seasons he prepares our hearts for the ways he wants to use us to love his people in this broken world. Instead of a withdrawal of his presence from us, these drying seasons are actually necessary gifts that our Father the potter gives us to seek him out so he can grow us in intimacy with him as he prepares our hearts for what's coming next.

And we can be assured that whatever that "next" is, if we've used our drying time to seek the heart of the one who has shaped us, he will reveal us as his masterpiece to a world that desperately needs to know something beautiful.

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple not necessarily in that order.

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