We all know something about creating, whether it be a meal, a flower garden, a painting, a book, or a ceramic vase. When we begin our creation of these things, they never appear as they will when they are finished.
The meal is at first just a bunch of ingredients on the countertop. The flower garden begins as a patch of grass or weeds that we must dig up in order to plant. The painting starts off as a canvas without color. The book is only an idea. The vase, a lump of clay.
We go through a lot of work putting these things into the form that we want them to be. We use our minds, our hearts, our hands–and it can be a struggle. But if we’re committed, we don’t give up. We keep our eyes on the end results, the beauty of our finished creation.
The is the way God works, too. We begin as a thought in the mind of God. He brings us into being, and tends us, never separating from us—though we can, and often do, separate from Him. He molds us by His hand, through the joyful and sorrowful events of our lives, into the loving people we are meant to be.
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand…Jeremiah 18:1-6
At times in our lives, the hands of God do not seem gentle, and we are in mental or physical pain–i.e we are suffering. And we don’t want to suffer–who does? But God does allow suffering. He doesn’t cause it, but He allows it to be used for some purpose in our life. Some purpose we may know nothing about at the time.
One way to get through painful times is to picture ourselves, as Jeremiah did, as clay in the hands of the potter. And, just as we do when we create something ourselves, to keep our thoughts on the end results.