Thursday, September 19, 2013

That Wheel


I bet you’re a lot like me. 

I’d like God to change me – in an instant.  Well, maybe over a day or two.

I need to be much more patient with frustrating people.  I’d like to give a lot of grace to those who don’t deserve it – like I don’t.  I want my words to be less critical and more encouraging.  I want to be thoughtful and generous instead of self-absorbed and protective of my time.

I’m reading in Jeremiah in the mornings, always amazed at how living God’s word is!  This week I’m reading about the Potter and the clay.

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“Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 
So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 
Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel {Becky}, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand.”
   Jeremiah 18:2-6
 
I’ve heard many sermons on the potter and the clay and I’ve read this passage many times.  But as I read it again today I saw something new. 
 
While I know the potter’s hands shape the clay and make it into what he wants it to be, there is something else at work on the clay: the wheel.  That spinning surface the clay sits on. 
 
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The potter could certainly make a clay creation without the wheel.  He could simply hold the clay in his hands and “freeform” a pot.  But he has something specific in mind when he uses the wheel.

The potter uses the wheel to make something that can only be formed on that surface.  It spins and presses the clay against the potter’s hands, allowing him to mold the clay into the finished product he planned.

So what is the wheel in Jeremiah’s illustration?  I think it could be our circumstances – everything we're experiencing that presses us into God’s molding fingers.  It’s what God uses to make us into people He can actually use…

…a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work. 
2 Timothy 2:21 AMP



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Here’s the deal – the potter has control of the wheel.  Even if it’s motor-driven, the potter controls the speed and the spin.

And God controls my circumstances.  He uses every single one as part of His master design to make me more like Him.  Whatever it is I’m facing day to day, I can know He has decided it's useful to press me into His hands again and again.  Around and around.

So I have to ask myself:  What circumstances is God using right now to shape me?  What is He using in your life? 

  • A prayer that hasn’t yet been answered in what seems like forever
  • A spouse who looks at things completely differently than you do
  • A relative who requires more than you have to give
  • A health concern that keeps you awake at night
  • A problem that doesn’t appear to have a solution

I hate hard things.  But I’m so encouraged today to know that God has something in mind in our circumstances.  He’s using every single problem, difficulty and obstacle; every relationship and encounter to press us into His hands.  He is smart enough to know exactly what He’s doing and skillful enough to make us into something useful.

That gives a whole new way to look at hard things:  Okay God, how are You going to use this tough thing?  It must be important in shaping us or we wouldn’t be experiencing it.  This pressure we feel can move us to You.  If we can only remember that You control the wheel.



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