Not many of the thoughts below are my own – credit needs to go to Adam Hellyer for his epic sermon at church last night, and the Holy Spirit for some additions… but this is what I have pondering on today. Thought I would share (and let’s be honest, any excuse to take photos makes me happy, with the obvious inclusion of my Favourite Poser, Piglet)…
It seems like our generation has become defined by motivational quotes and catchphrases that tell us we can become anything if we only set our minds to it. We can “find ourselves, create ourselves, discover ourselves and become everything we want, hope, wish, dream to be”… at the risk of being a little uncool, may I point out how unBiblical that is? Isaiah 29 speaks about God being the Potter and us, the clay. Paul continues this thought in Romans 9, except he points out how often the little lump of clay assumes to know better and complains to the Potter about his handiwork. Isn’t this just such a clear picture of us? Or is it just me…? I am not sure when this started happening, but last night I realised I have been doing quite a bit of complaining lately, even occasionally giving God some advice on what (I feel) He should get busy on in my life – you know, all those promises I am still waiting on, all the things I don’t have in my life… and as Adam put it: I was so busy asking God for handles, that I had forgotten to notice everything God has been busy doing in my life – what the Potter was busy doing in my lumpy clay life. So fixated on my lack of handles, I forgot some very simple, very honest and rather humbling truths…
I am just a little lump of clay in God’s hands. By choosing to submit my life to His will and glory, I have ultimately surrendered my will to His – He gets to form me into what He wants (and knows is Best). Its not actually about me. Or what I want. Or what I think should be done. Its for His glory and what’s best for His kingdom. Humbling stuff. If He needs me to be a bowl, necessary to feed others, then that’s what He will shape me into – no matter how strongly I feel I need a lid to become a casserole dish.
But. Having said this, I know this too: the Potter is a Good Father and a Good Creator; even when we don’t see it or understand. The Potter alone knows His vision and plans; He is busy with a Good Work. The little bowl or dish or pot only becomes discontent when it starts to compare itself to the other lumps of clay. What a bunch of crock(ery)! Sorry… I couldn’t resist… and that is what I realised I had begun doing. You know all those times when something awesome happens for one of your friends and you “celebrate” with them, but actually deep down there’s that little part of you that wishes it could have happened to you instead? Yeah, come on, be honest… we have all been there. That promotion at work, that relationship, the news of a pregnancy, the ability to go on a holiday – its all stuff that we feel we need and that clearly the Potter has forgotten to add to our design. The problem is the more fixated we become on others, we begin to become disgruntled at our own design; the things that our Good Father has provided. We start wriggling on that potter’s wheel and fighting the hands that have been molding us – let’s not even start describing the sharp and scary tools He sometimes uses to slice away the excess stuff! Its in the moments of resistance that we become warped and wobble out of shape. If I am really honest, I think that has been me lately; everything seems to have become a little lopsided and the world seems to have been spinning a little out of control. And as I have felt more and more out of control, the harder I have tried to “understand” and grasps things in my Head – and that is never a good place to be because no matter how hard I try, my understanding is just so limited and I am usually left overwhelmed at the fragments of Everything that I don’t actually get at all. And then, I am left despondent.
So, finally giving my Head a holiday, I allowed my Spirit an opportunity to try make sense of all this, and this is my newly developed (and appreciated) revelation: surrendering to the Potter’s loving and capable hands is a very good thing. Ultimately, He not only knows best, but is equally far more able to make it happen than I am (I have been the little bowl who thought it could grow handles by hoping fervently. I still don’t have handles.) and above all, the Potter loves his little lumps of clay. His plans are good plans. The best possible place to be is surrendered to the Potter; to remain Still and at Rest, while He continues His Good Work. Its then that I can truly become something of use to Him… and maybe even something pretty like a porcelain teacup… who knows?
If even Jesus submitted himself to the Father’s hand (Phil 2: 1-15), then maybe its a good idea to follow His example… and in so doing, become a little lump of clay that shines brightly like a star in the night sky. And while I patiently wait (and hold very still) for the Potter to do His thing, I realise this: there is an incredible, indescribable Peace and Rest that comes upon both my Spirit and my Head.
Daddy God has got this. He is completely in control (while I am not) – and that is a very, very good thing.