Tuesday, July 16, 2019

clay or Potter?

Throwing pottery is something I thought I wanted to try once. Once is the key word there--Raiden got a kid's pottery wheel, and I tried to use it. I can't even begin to tell you the mess I made. Wet clay spinning around in a circle seems to have a mind of its own. I tried to make a simple pot; nothing fancy, just something small that actually looked like a bowl or something recognizable. What I ended up with was nothing more than a mess, and I'm pretty sure I had more clay on myself than actually stayed on the wheel.

Left to me, the clay was less useful than it would have been if I had left if as a lump. At least then it could have been a paperweight or something. In the hands of a Master Potter, though, clay can become some pretty magnificent things.

"The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. 
He said, 'Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.' 
So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 
But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped,
so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 
Then the Lord gave me this message: 
'O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay?
As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.'"
Jeremiah 18:1-6

This is one of quite a few times that we are referred to as the clay when God is the Potter. Honestly, it isn't the prettiest picture if you go back and read it again. The potter was making a jar, and he didn't like how it was turning out. So he lovingly, patiently, gently worked with the jar, letting it dictate what it should become and following along.

Oh wait--that's not what that says.

Instead, he crushed it. He took the beginnings of a jar and he turned back into a lump.


Here's another passage that kind of steps on my toes:

How bad it will be for anyone who disputes with the very One who created him!
    After all, a human being is nothing more than one clay pot among many.
Imagine the clay saying to the potter, “What do you think you’re doing?”

or “You don’t have the hands for this.
Isaiah 45:9

I don't know about you, but I'm not necessarily a fan of the verses that step on my toes like this. You see, I have a tendency to tell God how I think things should go. I'm really good about it--I lay out the full plan so He can see just exactly how to best get things done, because obviously I know what's best for my life.

And that's typically when I get squeezed back down into a lump of clay.

That last passage is one that I find myself saying so much that I have God's reply written on a notecard that stays in my wallet:

"So the Eternal One, who is the Holy One and Maker of Israel, says,
'Are you really going to question Me about what will happen to My children,
or lecture Me about what I should do with the ones I made with My own hands?
It is I who made the very ground on which you stand,
I who shaped the human beings who walk around on it.
I pulled the sky and heavens taut with My own hands,
and organized the army of stars that march across the night sky.'"
Isaiah 45:11&12

 I have no doubt that God created the universe. Studying physics has left me nothing short of amazed at just what it means for God to have spoken everything into existence. The little bit that I understand gives me a hint of just how incredible it is that God set all those rules and principles into motion.

Why, then, is it so hard for me to trust that He can shape my life the right way? Why do I have the crazy thought that I should be telling God what to do with me? Am I more complicated than the laws that govern the universe? In light of what He has created and controlled and accomplished, do I really think that He's going to mess up when it comes to me?

I'm slowly learning to stop trying to control everything. I'm still not very good at the "letting go" thing, but I'm working on it...and for the days when I find myself trying to tell God what to do with my life and my future, I pull out my notecard and read His response. Then I look around me and think about all the amazing ways that He works...and remember that I'm really not all that complicated to Him.

Many find me a mystery,
    but You are my rock and my shelter—my soul’s asylum.
Psalm 71:7

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