"The Potter's Graceful Hands"
Oct. 18, 2019
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 (ESV)
"When the Lord sends you tribulation, He expects you to tribulate." So preaches a fire and brimstone evangelist from Mississippi, reported Paul Harvey in one of his Rest of the Story broadcasts.
Given our choice, few of us would choose tribulating as a way of life. Yet our Father allows many of His children to pass through experiences we feel unbearable. After a devasting loss or after weeks and months of perpetual anguish, we numbly ask, "Why?"
Isaiah once wrote, "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the Potter, 'What are You making?'" This stern warning has become for me a solid source of comfort. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will use these words in your life as well.
Lord, You know your children are but clay. Often life cracks and breaks us until we believe our lives themselves are useless, worthless.
Yet, You delight to pick us up, Father, You shape and mold and press us until we become pleasing vessels—beautiful objects to contain Your love. You expend much effort on us. Much creative thought goes into Your craftsmanship, until gradually, we become uniquely made vessels for the service of the King of kings. We become Your new creation. We who were but one of countless broken and useless potsherds have been given purpose and value. And we praise You for Your work.
Yet a price must be paid. The potter consigns the greenware to the kiln. Into the furnace soft and full, the vessels emerge from the fire diamond hard, mirror smooth. Pottery that is forever unfired will be forever unfit.
I know in my heart of hearts that this is so. But in the suffocating darkness of the kiln, I cry out to You: "My God, my God, why? Why have You made me thus? What are You making? What is this design You have for my life?"
I sometimes doubt the process and lash out at the Designer. Father, I forget Your unalterable love. I forget the excruciating burden of Your Son who bore the world's pain and in doing so cried out, too: "My God, My God—why?"
In all my uncertainly and distress, Jesus went before me. He suffered alone that He might calm forever my doubts of Your love, so that I might never doubt Your presence, even when I pass through the fire. Fill the yawning loneliness of my anguish with Your peace. Give me strength to go on. I who am but clay yearn for Your glory. By the Savior's blood, reveal to me a glimmer of the glory in Your plan.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the Potter; I am the clay. Make of me a vessel fit for service in Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
- Do you take time to consider how God is working in your life to make you into something suitable for His purposes?
- Can you think of instances in the life of Isaiah where he adhered to the idea of being clay in the potter's hands?
- How do you keep yourself amenable, moldable to what God is doing in your life?
From The Lutheran Layman, August 1980 issue, "Clay and the Glint of Glory" by Jane Fryar. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Do you take time to consider how God is working in your life to make you into something suitable for His purposes?