The other day, in a moment of grief, looking down at the ground in deep thought, I walked right over this pitiful fork. It was at the edge of the driveway next to the waste container the garbage truck had emptied, limb missing and shattered down the length of her body. She called for my camera to recognize her brokenness. This misshapen fork was me. We had something in common. Something cracked and missing. A need. Pain.
I got to thinking about how similar we were and how somebody designed that fork and she had just been trying to serve her purpose, but something had gone wrong and here she was in the gutter, left as useless trash.
We all have a purpose in this life that we were made for. Some of us who are struggling with big life changes, broken hearts, estranged relationships, ideals or dreams that were crushed by cold hard reality… some of us are like this pulverized fork on the street.
It wasn’t until a week later that God put the Bible story image of the potter’s wheel on my heart, but here in this post God’s broken clay meets 21st Century: a run-over plastic fork on the street.
In case it escaped your notice, I’ve taken a little blogging sabbatical for a month. Sometimes you just have to be present in the moment and keep your eyes on Jesus, and let the chips fall where they may. One chip that fell was my blog. I haven’t been all that worried about it lately.
So, in case you were wondering if I was going to give up blogging, the answer is no. I haven’t forgotten about you guys out there… the few people who really read my blog. I just wanted to take time to allow God to do the work He’s been doing in my life and the lives of those in my family.
Not that God is ever finished with us. We are all works in progress while we are still breathing.
I heard a story once told about God being the potter and we, the clay. It stems from Isaiah 64:8…
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
When you’re going through a difficult time, chances are, you are on his wheel. God’s fingers press in tight to mold you and make you into His image. Maybe He’s smoothing out a rough spot to make you beautiful. Maybe He’s pulling hard on an unyielding spot in your life to form the perfect handle or curve. Maybe He has to press you down to the wheel and start over from scratch.
I know He has a purpose in remaking us into His image… but sometimes the remaking hurts a little.
Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. ~ Isaiah 60:21
I’ve been that lump of wet pummeled clay enough times in my life to recognize when God’s hand is coming down hard… and although it may not feel good when things aren’t all green lights and rights, I know that I know that I know God loves me (and the rest of my family – and all of you for that matter). I know He is not absent even when the answer is “wait” or “no”.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
If you haven’t been through a season where you are hard pressed, you will. Sometimes He’s all thumbs and you beg for mercy. Each one of us will eventually come under His pressure, and even the fire for our own good.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:7-10
I have found that through the tears, there have been glimpses of God’s heart towards me glowing in the midst of the dark. Sometimes He uses people: the text of a friend, the hug of a loved one, the words of a close relative. Sometimes He uses answered prayers or small blessings He knows will make me smile… “coincidences” that make me “see” Him in the moment.
I’ve also seen Him more because I’ve been paying closer attention. There’s nothing like a crisis to burn away all the fluff in your life.
God has also been doing a lot behind the scenes. Other mountains in my life have been moving while I’ve been determinedly focused on praying for a single mountain to move. He’s definitely got the bigger picture in mind; one that I can’t even begin to comprehend, I’m certain. Without fail and without much notice or thanks, He always continues working in the background (“in the details”). There’s no way we can know how many times a day He is our salvation, or in how many ways.
I’m not climbing down off the potter’s wheel yet just because I’m ‘back’. He’s still working on me. I’m not claiming to know how He’ll work things out in my life or those I love; I’m just letting you know – for the record – that no matter what, I trust Him. I believe Him. I know He’s “got my back”.
I’m still here, feeling like I’m exactly where I need to be; and THAT’s the peace that passes understanding. Even when hearts break and hurt, to know God is putting you on His wheel and making all things new is the definition of Easter hope.
As Tony Evans said in a recent sermon I listened to, “He didn’t just DIE to save you, He LIVES to save you.”
So when you find yourself on the Potter’s wheel…. stay there. He’s in control. Be still. Talk to Him. Rest in Him. Watch for Him. Wait on Him. Pretty much the entire crux of life can be summed up in trusting and obeying the Lord.
I know I can’t imagine what I’ll look like when I’m finished being molded and refined, but I pray that I shine brightly to reflect His loving face. I hope I’ll hold a heaping cup of that love to share with others, too… the ones who need it the most… the ones who are broken and smashed clay like I have been so many times.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:4