In the Potter’s Hand
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Is. 64:8 ESV
At the beginning of this week, I sat with Gary Wilson, master potter. I went to observe him crafting clay mugs. It was all out of character for me. God had set me up the Saturday before as I had asked Him what He wanted to write about. He said one word, “TRUST’. Sometimes I feel HE has such a funny sense of humor. Me, write about trust? Trust has been something extremely violated for me. And yet it is one of the sweetest things He is growing in me. So, I probed further with the Lord. What scripture verses do you want me to write about? “The potter and the clay”, HE responded.
Over the course of the next two days, I found myself not only with Gary Wilson’s contact information, but me corresponding with him about a possible time to come and observe him creating his pieces of art. I am not one to contact nor go to the home a man I have never met. There was a time I fought with my mom over who would call the pizza man. And yet, there I was sitting on a stool next to a master potter throwing his clay lumps on a wheel in his garage. This is what I learned from that experience.
First of all, it’s the water that makes the clay moldable. The water lubricates the clay to allow the potter to form it in his hands as the wheel spins around. The water would be likened to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as the Father molds us into what He wants us to become. If there is too much water sitting in the clay, the bottom will crack and the pot will become useless. Just like if we sit in the presence of the Holy Spirit, soaking in His goodness, but don’t allow Him to change us, and use the gifts and calling He places in us, we become soggy, cracked, useless. We must be willing to not only hear what He is saying, but do it. Trust is an action. We can say we trust someone all day long, but until we take the action of obeying, we aren’t really trusting them.
Trust defined is a firm assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. One in whom confidence is placed. I like how the Amplified version expands the meaning to “Lean on, trust in, be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind…” Prov. 3:5 Leaning in on him, putting your weight on, so that He’s carrying you. I was horrible at playing the trust game growing up. I only tried it once with a guy friend in college, and I literally could not make myself fall back on him. Can I fall back on Jesus, leaning myself into His chest?
Mesmerized as I watch the masters potter’s hands, I hear Abba’s whisper in my ear. “You can trust me, daughter. My hands are the most skilled, gentle, loving, yet firm, and know exactly how to pull up the clay, work out the small stones and imperfections. I am the master potter. I know what I am doing. You can fully trust me. Relax back into my loving hands.”
As Gary is working, he is explaining to me the process. “A good potter, only needs to lift the clay three times. You can’t overwork the clay.” Lifting is the process of making the sides of the pot or in this case, mug. Our heavenly Father won’t pull us more than we need. He won’t overwork us.
He goes on, “Natural clay has small rocks in it. You must work the rocks completely out before placing it in the fire, because if you don’t, as it heats up the rocks will explode destroying the pot and damaging the kiln.” Can we trust God to work all of our rocks out of our hearts, so we won’t self-destruct when the heat is turned up?
As I continued to watch the potter caress the clay, I listened as he spun stories of family and friends, lessons from a life well lived. That whisper came again to my ear, “Trust is built through relationship. Trust is formed through intimacy. Coming back into listening again, Gary says, “You know that this ball of clay may want to be a pretty vase to sit on my shelf. But I love this one, and I created it for intimacy, so I will make it into a mug, and it will always be close to me.”
I asked him, “Do you know what it’s going to look like before you start?” I was surprised by his answer. “No.”, he said, “You are responding to what the clay lets the potter do. The potter works with the clay, and every clump of clay is different.” So, though the potter knows the function for which the clay is purposed for, the clay determines how that mug or pot will look. “Some clay is simply unworkable, and there is very limited things I can do with it. The more workable the clay, the more I can do with it, and the more beautiful the piece in the end will become.”
This struck me more than anything else. God knows the purpose for which He has created us, the function we are to have. But all of us are so unique, that He chooses to work with each of us in the way each of us will respond to His touch. His touch is so attuned to our uniqueness, strengths, weaknesses, personality traits and quirkiness. He knows just how to help us to become the beautiful piece of pottery that He desires, but it is our willingness to allow Him to shape and form us that determines what He can do with us. Every lump of clay responds differently to the touch of the master potter. He knows this already. He loves us, and works his beauty through it all to the degree we allow Him to.
Sometimes it’s easy to get into striving and thinking that I am responsible for things that are not mine to take. Often times Abba needs to remind me who is really in charge. I hear Him saying over and over, “Daughter, lean back into my arms. And just trust me. I’ve got this. I’ve got you. I am the potter. You are the clay. You can trust my hands. I know what I am doing.” The more I yield to His touch, the more He can do in me and through me. So, trust His loving hands, dear friends. Let Him remove the little stones, and impurities, so you don’t self destruct. Let Him mold you into the beautiful creation He desires you to be. Yield to His touch. You can trust Him.