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
The Refining Fire
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. I Peter 1:6-7
I am not a potter. I know people who are, but I am not one of them! While digging in and trying to understand the process of taking a lump of clay and turning it into something beautiful, I learned a few things. Being someone who loves the study of words, I found several descriptions of “firing clay” that really resonated with me:
· Firing clay transforms it from its humble, soft beginnings into a new substance
· The final aim is to heat the object to the point that the clay is “mature”, that is, it has
reached its optimal level of melting
· Through the process, the clay also becomes less fragile
· The drying part that happens in the kiln must happen slowly, or the clay may burst
· While in a kiln, clay gets so hot that it gets to a point where it is changed forever
One of our daughters, Chloe, was enjoying a beautiful evening with family during a Fourth of July festivity. We all had sparklers and were enthralled with the beautiful fireworks. That is until one of the sparklers met her soft innocent little cheek. There was instant crying and screaming as her skin was burnt by the heat. We quickly took care of it, and continued to treat the burn over the next couple of days. What started out as a light red burn, turned into a very dark and crusty scab, that eventually led to a soft pink scar in the shape of a heart. The burn got worse looking before it got better. Her cheek was changed forever, as now, whenever Chloe’s cheek gets hot or cold, you can see a bit of the pink heart emerge – which we think is pretty cool!
As God holds us in His hands, there are times when we may feel quite comfortable being molded and sculpted. Other times it may be a time to “fire the clay”. We may go through a time of great intensity and wonder what is going on, maybe questioning the presence of God. As we are in this refining process, all of who we are is immersed in conditions we most likely would not have placed ourselves in by choice. But the Potter knows best. What does it look like on the other side of the fire? Going back to the definitions we looked at, I love how it fits our description as we are His clay:
· Our humble, soft beginnings are turned into a new substance
· The final aim is to cause the clay to mature
· In the fire, the clay gets so hot it is changed forever
· During the process, the clay becomes less fragile
If you are currently in the kiln, take heart, you are being refined. You WILL come out on the other side. You will be changed and solidified. Take heart, persevere and anticipate the good your Potter is doing in this process. If you have just gone through the fire, reflect upon what just happened, consider how you are different on this side, and praise God for using the opportunity to mold you for His good. Thank Him for your “heart-shaped” marking.
Maybe you are heading to the kiln, about to enter what you anticipate a fiery experience. Take a deep breath, and be at peace knowing your Potter does not waste an experience. Seek Him as you step in this journey. Know that He is God!
Write about what refining fire you have experienced. Ask God to reveal to you where He was as you went through that experience. Consider how God used the situation to change you, to humble you.
"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......Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
II Corinthians 4:8-9, 17-18