When Life Disappoints You: The Potters Touch

The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 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. 5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “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)

We all have started out with some type of idea about how we thought life would be when we were grown. When I was a freshman in college, my best friend and I took a piece of paper and wrote about how wonderful our lives would be five years from that day. I wrote about how I would be living in DC working as a photographer for the Washington Post. What type of car I would have and even what my husband would look like and my friend did the same. We eagerly folded our papers and wrote in bold letters do not open until five years from today. We soon forgot about our declarations and went on with life, only to come back years later and rediscover the forgotten paper. Needless to say that my life turned out nothing like I planned. I was an unemployed college graduate, I didn’t have the fancy car and my wonderful husband? I wasn’t even seriously dating at the time. Her story didn’t have a better ending either. Is your story like my friend and I? Did you have a vision of how wonderful life would turn out for you?

Proverbs 16:33 says,"We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall."

As I stated earlier, we ALL had an idea of how we thought life would turn out. And there is one idea that many can relate to….you walked down that aisle thinking you would be with your husband forever, but somehow the marriage fell apart mid-flight. Even in the midst of chaos, God is shaping you. Does your life feel like a lump of clay? You are feeling marred and broken and wondering how you can put the pieces back together. The good news is that you don’t have to put it back together because God has you in His had.

8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. (Isaiah 64:8 NIV)

Have you ever seen someone working on a potter’s wheel? After the clay is ready, it is then thrown onto a spinning wheel. Doesn’t life fee like it’s spinning out of control sometimes? When the clay is on the wheel it wobbles all over the place, so the potter has to take his hand and guide it towards the center of the wheel; or should I say the center of His will. That’s when He starts to stretch and poke it to begin forming it into the shape that He desires it. Poking and prodding is not fun, but it is necessary. Once the pottery is formed He moves on to glazing. A color is chosen and applied to the pot. Now it is ready for the fire. The piece is put through the fire more than once and comes forth as a beautiful work of art.

You see it doesn’t matter how broken your life may appear, because our God uses broken vessels. The crushed olive is used for olive oil, The crushed grape is used for wine. We can’t see the beauty in broken things, but it’s our suffering that brings us closer to Christ! In today’s Christianity, we are used to hearing the Healthy and Wealthy gospel that says God wants you to have your best life now. God wants you to prosper, He wants you to be wealthy and victorious. Although God wants us to live an abundant life, it’s important to remember that we must also suffer with Christ as well.

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world (1 Peter 4:12 NIV)

So when you are going through trials, your purpose is being developed. There are some prayers that you wouldn’t pray if you didn’t experience brokenness. There are some testimonies your wouldn’t have if you didn’t experience brokenness. There are some ministries/businesses that wouldn’t exist if your didn’t experience brokenness. So don’t get weary in the molding process, when your life is spinning seemingly out of control or we are going through a fiery trial. God is in control. Yes it hurts, yes it’s uncomfortable, no we don’t’ like it but God knows what’s best.

Potters don't start work without having a vision of the end results. So, you know God is using your pain for His glory and He has an end result in mind. What would happen if you jumped off the wheel right in the middle of being molded? God says I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not evil. It’s ok to ask God what He is trying to teach you in the midst of your trial, but we should never question His authority.

9 “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?

God has infinite wisdom and His thoughts are above our thoughts. Our understanding is limited (Isaiah 45:9 NIV)

16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? (Isaiah 29:16 NIV)

When we are marred, messed up and don’t know what to do, God has us in His hands. He will make us over again. Keep holding on to Him. Remember our defect is not our defeat. Be blessed and encouraged in the Lord.

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