Identity Found in God
The Potter and The Clay
~ The Potter
~ The Clay
~ The Idea
~ The Plan
~ The Refining Fire
~ The Reshaped Pot
~ Living as His Clay Pot
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
II Corinthians 4:7-9
Play-Dough. A substance that has been a part of many children’s childhood memories. The colors! The many tools and gadgets and molds that have been marketed to kids who “have to have”. I remember when our older children were younger, and we would get the Play-dough tub out and fill the kitchen table with Play-dough and all the parts that went with it. Those cool things where you could push down the handle and the lump of Play-Dough would come out in strings, spaghetti or French fries, or even hair on top of a head – incredible! Or those molds you could put a blob of dough in, squish the two ends of the plastic mold together and…POOF…chicken nuggets! The creations were endless! Hours and hours of fun!
But wait! I don’t know about you, but this Play-dough experience has also gone down at our house too: The Play-Dough tub had been shelved for quite some time, when all of a sudden, one of the children gets a new set for their birthday. You search for the tub, find it, and dig out all the materials. One by one you open the Play-dough cans, and reach in only to discover a hard, cracked substance that, when touched, only crumbles. Not very moldable.
When God’s word describes us as the Potter’s clay, what does that mean? By definition, clay is: an earthly material that is plastic when moist, but hard when fired…used for brick, tile and pottery. Something used for modeling. Clay is something that exists to be molded; to be made into something. This lump of substance would simply be just that if it weren’t for hands to mold it into something.
If we are the clay in our Potter’s hand, that means we are “a substance” that has potential to be turned into something our Artist envisions. But what does this substance look like? Clay, Play-Dough, when take care of, when conditions are just right, remains in a state in which the Potter can use the clay as it was intended. But, when the dough gets left unattended, uncared for, and conditions turn the pliable material into something hard and cracked, it’s very difficult for the Potter to do His thing.
How do we, the clay, remain in just the right state so that God, our Potter, can place His loving hands upon us to mold us into the beautiful work He envisions? There are the factors that the lump of clay has no control over. Ones that leaves us vulnerable or in a place where the impacts of a broken world cause us to dry up. The hurts and pains that crack our shell result from situations that stiffen us. What are we to do when we come across life situations that interfere with our desire to be pliable in our Potter’s hand? Fear, Anger, Frustration. Maybe hopelessness melts us into a slimy, gooey substance that has no form to even mold.
There is hope as God’s clay. What if we do what we can to take care of ourselves? What can protect us from growing dry and cracked, or from becoming a slimy puddle? I go back to the image of Play-Dough. To maintain that nice, soft, pliable state, it is best to keep it in a sealed container, keeping it so it doesn’t have too much air or moisture, too much outside factors that might gradually dry it out. It can be out of the container for a period of time, but it can’t remain there.
We do live in a world that has a lot of influence, and impact on us. It is so important that we, as the clay, come to realize what we need to do to preserve the pliability God needs us to have to mold us. For us, it’s not shoving ourselves into a can with a tight-fitting lid on it to secure pliability. For us, it’s surrendering and finding ourselves in the nurturing, strengthening, loving cleft our Potter provides for us. He is our protection, our rock or refuge when the storms of life brew and try and crack us. Finding ourselves nestled in His Word, in His Truth protects us from the damaging conditions life at times throws our way. When we fall into our Potter’s hands, we may be “hard pressed on every side”, “persecuted” and “struck down”, but we will not be ‘”crushed”, or “in despair”, and we will not be “destroyed”!
May we be clay in our Potter’s hands. May we choose to take care of ourselves, to keep our pliability so our Potter can mold us as He desires. Write down what you may need to do to become more pliable in your Potter’s hands. Allow God to give you what you need to overcome the pressures that press, persecute and strike you down. Find yourself nestled in His hands, preventing you from being crushed, or in despair or destroyed. He is FOR you.