The Potter’s Vessel
For the past month and a half or so I have been reading the book of Jeremiah in the bible. I have been tempted to quit many times because on the surface the book is terribly depressing. In the book of Jeremiah the people of Israel refuse to obey Gods commandments and God punishes them accordingly. It is hard to read about the God of love having to use so much negativity with His people. Night after night of reading, the people of Israel screw up and do things that hurt them, and God being the just God He is, has to discipline them so they can learn their lesson. I believe that God truly does love each and every one of us and He forgives us when we mess up and when we sin. When a parent reprimands their child it is for their own good so the child can learn to live responsibly and happily. So while, Israel deserves the strong discipline God gives them in the book of Jeremiah, just like any parent knows the disciplining isn’t any fun for either side.
We also see in the book of Jeremiah that God gives Israel countless opportunities to change, to choose good not evil, and to turn their hearts back towards the God that loves them so dearly. In late February I came across the chapter in Jeremiah called The Potter’s Vessel. It poetically demonstrates just how much God loves us, wants what is best for us, and how He can make good come from bad. The passage goes as follows:
Jeremiah 18:1-6 The Potter’s Vessel.
1 This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Rise up, be off to the potter’s house; there I will give you my message. 3 I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. 4 Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? Says the Lord. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.
After reading this I was inspired to write down some thoughts and it turned into a poem, simply because I love writing in rhythm and with rhymes. The poem goes like this:
The Potter’s Vessel
The potter’s vessel, He molds His clay
He prods, He presses, He pulls each way
To make beautiful things that with last and stay
But what if, while spinning, the molding goes awry?
If its shape gets deformed and bits start to fly!
The potter just stops, gathers up the clay, He does not cry
There is no need, He can begin anew
In his hands He starts molding and shaping and forming it too
With the clay’s fresh start there is nothing He can’t do
And so does God, mold our hearts
With every fracture or break, a new shape starts
Each time forming better than before
If we just let God guide our hearts, form our center, be our core.
I hope you find some bit in there that speaks to you, that the poem makes sense to you in a way that only you will understand. However, this isn’t high school AP English and I don’t want you to have to try and analyze why I did what I did, so I will try to explain what I mean in this poem.
Sometimes life is messy, we all know that. Sometimes we make mistakes, big and small ones, and we have to look at the pieces strewn about and decide what to do next. But what I learned from Jeremiah 18:1-6 is that God has everything under control even when everything is flying out of control. When we mess up He is there to pick us up and He gives us the grace to start over, start fresh. We simply have to choose to start over.
Sometimes this choice to start fresh is the hardest choice. We don’t want to let go of what brought us down. Be it our relationship with food, under or over eating, our relationship with others in which we let them use us or we use them. It also can be the little things that are the hardest to let go of. They get so engrained in us! The rolling of our eyes when our parents “just don’t understand!!” (Dramatic flair included). The big little white lie of “I’m fine, just fine”. These are habits and relationships we have formed in our lives that are breaking us apart.
So what do we do? We go to God and we let him pick up the pieces we can’t. We let him form our hearts again. Now that sounds nice, but were humans so what does that actually look like? It looks like taking time to pray with God and spending time with his Word, the bible. If we go to him in prayer and tell him we simply cannot pick up the pieces and that we want so desperately to start over, but don’t know how, He will show us. He will hold us and guide us, we just have to trust His timing. He already knows we can’t handle all of this, that is why He is the potter and we are merely the clay. He is in control, we just like to pretend we are and that is what gets us into trouble. So give it to God and He will mold you a new heart each and every time you need Him to. He loves you.
Dream Big! Live Courageously! And Thrive!