And just when we think we've made it - WHAM! We're picked up, tossed on the wheel and here we go again!
Now, I know I'm not the only one who ever asked God to mold me, shape me, bend me, make me and control me. Well, that's exactly what He does on the wheel. I don't know if you have ever seen anyone make a clay pot or flower vase. I once had a friend who was "into" pottery. She would make the most beautiful things. One day I asked her if she would show me how it's done. I thought that maybe I had some hidden talent that would come out if I were to do what she did. I was so wrong.
Any way, she took a chunk of clay and placed it (actually threw it) onto the wheel. She wet her hands. She said this would help make the clay more pliable and to keep it from sticking to her hands. She placed her foot on the peddle and began to pump it. This made the wheel spin. As the wheel was spinning, she would begin to work the clay, with a steady motion, applying a level pressure, working upward - constantly pulling or working the clay upward. I thought this looks easy, so she let me try. I began the same way with a clump of clay and wet hands. With my foot on the peddle, I began to pump and the wheel started to spin - unfortunately I did not know how to keep a steady speed or a constant pressure on the clay. As I would work it in an upward motion, it would flop over and become a mess. My friend told me the only thing you could do at this point is to punch it down and begin again. So it is with the Master Potter. As He works on us, we begin to feel that speed and pressure and want to jump off the wheel. I know I have many times. But in attempting to do this, we get out of His will, out of His hands and become marred. We flop over and we have to be "punched" down in order for Him to begin again.
The story of the potter is told in Jeremiah 18. Verse 4 states, "And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." The vessel became marred! This does not mean that the potter made a mistake like I did. It means that there was a flaw in the clay itself. This is much like our Christian walk. The Potter's vision of what we are to become is perfect. The only flaws are in the clay (us). We must yield to the hands of the Master Potter and let Him shape us into the vessel we are meant to be - for His purpose. It is a decision that we have to make - He will not override our will but I urge you to allow Him to do the work He has begun.
The vessel is not ready yet. Now comes the fun part. There was also a process where the vessel needs to have the rough places smoothed out before it can have a finish put on it. Rough places smoothed out! That sounds painful. How was that done? She used sandpaper! OUCH! Has God ever put someone in your life that just seemed to rub you the wrong way? They could be the sandpaper He was using to smooth out some of your rough edges. But this process must be done before the finishing touches can be added.
There are times now when I recognize that God is using someone around me for my making. I feel the grating, like I'm being rubbed in the wrong direction. I have to stop and thank God for answering my prayer for I know He is making me into the person He desires me to be.
Fortunately, this is not the end of the vessel. There is a process called firing. Remember the word "process." A series of progressive and interdependent steps by which an end is attained; A systematic series of actions directed to some end.
Depending upon the desired purpose of the clay vessel, it may have to be fired more than once. The more times it is fired, the harder its shell becomes. It must be placed in the kiln to be fired before it can withstand the pressure of being used.
We are much like the alabaster box Mary broke in order to release the precious oil it contained. We read in Mark 14:3-8:
3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted?
5 "For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.
7 "For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.
8 "She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.
Spikenard oil was very precious and expensive. It is also very fragrant. As the flask was broken, the whole room would have been filled with the fragrance of the oil. We too, have very precious and expensive oil (anointing) inside of us. It is the anointing which God as placed in us for service and, as we are broken, by situations, circumstances and things we go through, the oil is poured out and the fragrance of the oil (the anointing) is released and those in our mist benefit from it.
Of course, there are those who will think that the oil (anointing) is being wasted, as in verse 4, but those who were present, even though they complained about the use of the oil, were also partakers of the fragrance of the oil. What man sees as waste, God sees as useful. The oil was poured out in preparation of Jesus' body - as we are broken, the anointing God has placed in us, this precious oil, is poured out in order to prepare the body of Christ. The breaking and pouring out of ourselves is not a waste but a necessity. The anointing is not for us but for others. It is to be poured out so that others may be partakers of its fragrance. So you see, brokenness is not such a bad thing. But remember, the oil cost Mary nearly a year's wages - the anointing is costly.
If you feel like you're on the wheel and want to get off, don't. You will be a much better person for staying on. If you feel like a broken or marred vessel, let the Master Potter remake you. It's just one more step in the process and I know you can make it because I did. But you say, "You don't know what I'm going through, you don't know what I have to put up with!" No, I don't. But, I do know what I went through and, if I can come out on top, so can you. Just remember, you're in His hands.
In Jeremiah 18:2 we read:
"Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words."
We must arise, come up to a new level in God, and go down, humble ourselves before God, the Master Potter, and once we have done that, He will cause us to hear His words - wisdom, instruction and direction. Hearken to His voice.
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