"Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)

My mom used to make the most magnificent works of art from a big lump of clay. It looked like a big gray “blob” just sitting in front of her, before her hands touched it, loved it, and then molded it into something “better”...something “beautiful” and with purpose. What once looked like mud under the swing set, became a masterfully crafted rose that looked so real you could almost smell the sweet fragrance. Or I watched the clump that looked like oatmeal, as it transformed into an elegant dish eager to cradle something for its owner.

But just “forming” it into a “shape” is not enough: it has to “set”, or have time to dry. Even at this point, the process is not yet finished. The hardened clay is extremely fragile, and will break just holding it incorrectly. It must go to the kiln, to be baked: to be refined by fire. Even after firing, the piece is fragile, and may break if great stress is applied. But, it can withstand a much greater force than it could prior to it meeting the blaze.

The “finished product” is lovely to admire...to display and/or use with great affection and confidence in its beauty.

Isaiah compares us to “clay”, and the Lord is the Potter. Where are you in this process? What is the Lord making with you? Are you just a “lump” at this point? (Haven't yet put yourself in front of the Potter, for Him to create a work of art?) Maybe you are unsure that you want to be molded and shaped into something “else”... How can someone withstand the stress and pressure of life, or even enjoy the goodness and beauty of life, when one is just a “blob”, with no form and no purpose?

Perhaps you have decided you want to be molded and shaped, and you are waiting to dry. Perhaps you are afraid of the “fire” it will take to make you stronger than your present state. After all, fire is hot, and it can hurt.

Are you to point that you've been through the fire? Have you felt the Almighty reach down and fashion you into something He desires? What are you doing with that transformation? Do you have the confidence that the Lord has created something beautiful and given you purpose? Are you sharing His creation with those around you?

2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

The books of James and 1 Peter speak of trials “refining” our faith, developing our perseverance, maturing us and granting us wisdom (James 1:2-5; I Peter 1:7). Trials can be anything from an ornery two year old, to losing a job, or even losing a loved one. Each moment in your life has a purpose: God’s hand upon you, smoothing out rough edges and removing the excess clay.

Will you take the step to sit in front of the Master to be created into something new? Will you take the step into the fire to be made stronger and more resilient? Will you take the step to be purposeful with sharing God’s creation in you with those around you? Do you trust the Lord’s hands to be enough to keep you from shattering?

"Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." (Jeremiah 32:17)

Isn’t it wonderful knowing, that nothing is too hard for the Lord: that His hands are enough.

Lisa Gopp

11/3/06