May 5, 2011

Safe in the hands of my Potter

But now, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay,
and thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.
[Isaiah 64:8]

There is something so beautiful about the Biblical metapor as our God as a Potter, molding us into His vessels that He designs for a specific purpose. My daily prayer is to be molded by the Heavenly Potter, even if that means pain in the process.
It will be worth it.

Many times we try to mold ourselves (as if clay could really mold itself!). I suppose its pride that persuades us to try to fashion ourselves into meaningful creations. But we do so without the Creator, and eventually we see that we have flaws. Cracks on one side, dents on the other.  A little lopsided too, perhaps. But we carry on, our defects seemingly unnoticed ...
Until we are put through the fire.

Oh, the fire. The burning flames of trials, temptations, despair. It is then that we are made keenly aware that we are utterly marred. In the pottery world, it is said that sometimes cracks are unnoticed in fresh clay vessels. But as soon as they are put through the intense heat in a kiln, the cracks become painstakingly visible. One potter explained, "You may not hear a crack, but firing will separate it more so it shows up." Isn't that true for our lives too? Firing the molded creation we've tried to build of our lives reveals awful cracks. We realize our weaknesses and faults most
when we're in the fire.

Thankfully, we have a Heavenly Father who desires to fulfull His plans and purposes through us. In doing so, He shapes us and creates us in the way that is best to serve Him. Just as there are millions of different masterpieces of pottery made by talented potters, God creates us each individually, all looking beautiful and unmatched because of Him.

Another thing that causes cracked pottery is that sometimes the potter turns the heat up in the kiln too fast, leaves the fire on too long, or puts the temperature too high. Yes, we will still go through periods in the dreadful "kiln". But the difference is that when we are molded and made with His hands, we will be made stronger after going through the fire. His hands that molded us will keep us from being in the fire longer than needed.  What peace in knowing that our Potter knows the exact timing and extent of the fire needed to make us durable, hard-to-shatter ceramic vessels with His fingerprints on us. 

In order to become a vessel molded by the Potter, we have to be crushed down at times. Our plans and our desires, broken down until there is nothing left of our own creation. Only then can the Potter create a vessel completely fashioned after His own hands. Don't resist those hands. And don't resist surrendering and yielding everything to Him. It will hurt for a while, but unimaginable beauty will surface in due time. For those same hands that are molding you, if you look ever so carefully, are pierced from nails that held the Potter on a cross. What an honor to be held in the arms that were stretched out so wide, they can take the whole, broken, marred world in. Let the Potter do what He does so wonderully.

Here's a short poem that I wrote last summer that became a daily prayer for me:

In the hands of a loving Potter
In the palms of my Heavenly Father
Here my story shall unfold
As the Potter starts to mold

In Thy likeness, I pray Thee, make me
That those around me, all could see
Thy reflection and Thy beauty
In my love, in my all, is Thee

Hillsong United speaks of the Potter
with the beautifully written, "The Potter's Hands":
Beautiful Lord, wonderful Saviour
I know for sure, all of my days Are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes

I'm captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You're drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, Mold me
Use me, Fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hands
Hold me, Guide me
Lead me, Walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand
And of course, another of my favorites:

Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true 
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You 
You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray