Thou Art the Potter
Diane M. Roney.
Hands move over the uneven surface of the lump of moist
clay. As an image of a man is studied by the artist, the fingers
seem suspended as if waiting for the directive message to
move from eyes to nerve impulses to hands.
Two gouges are made in the lump; the excess clay is tossed
aside. The supple mass gives way at the touch of the sculptor.
Delicate tools become extensions of the artist. The work is
intricate. Clay is added, taken away, made rough, smoothed
out. After some work, the lump of clay begins to reflect the
The clay is carefully wrapped in damp cloths that will keep
it soft until the next session. It is placed on the shelf,
there to wait for the artist to return. Yet the clay is ever
with the artist, being sculpted in thought. Work will continue
until the full vision of the artist is reflected in clay.
"O Lord, you are out Father; we are the clay, you are
the potter; we are all the work of your hand" Isaiah
64:8. God is at work in our individual lives in order to bring
into being a people formed in the image of Christ. "Those
God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness
of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers"
Romans 8:29. "He (the Son) is the image of the invisible
God, the firstborn over all creation" Col. 1:15. "The
Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation
of his being. . ." Hebrews 1:3.
". . .And (you) have put on the new self, which is
being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator"
Col. 3:10. "And just as we have borne the likeness of
the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man
from heaven" I Cor. 15:49. "And we, who with unveiled
faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed
into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes
from the Lord, who is the Spirit" 2 Cor. 3:18.
As a sculptor uses hands and tools to fashion clay into
an image envisioned, God has his tools to conform us to his
image. His tools are the situations and circumstances we face
during the time he has appointed for us to be on this earth.
If we desire to come into the fullness of God's purpose in
bearing the likeness of Christ, we must come to understand
God's use of circumstances.
The circumstances of our lives are always in a state of
flux. They ebb and flow like the changing tide. Circumstances
are the vessels God uses to do the impossible work of transforming
us into the image of Christ (1). God would have us see them
as His methods, His ways, and His tools.
Circumstances, whether they be mundane or high drama are
gifts from God to us. Think about your life. It has been shaped
and influenced by events never planned or anticipated. You
read the Bible, pray, seek counsel and pursue God's will.
You have godly dreams and desires. You start in a direction
God has placed before you. You are full of hope in all God
has promised. Then something falls apart. You didn't expect
it, but it happened. It is at such a point that God would
have us see beyond circumstances to the person he is forming
us to be for eternity.
Walking before the Lord is not a straight upward path from
new birth to glory. There are twists and turns. God brings
to each of us unique blessings and trials. We do not pick
them; God chooses them. It is through them that He causes
us to bear His image. No earthly circumstance will last forever,
but the person we allow God to make us through them will live
in eternity with Him. Our focus needs to be on God and His
purposes, not the tools He is using to accomplish them. When
we grasp this, a freedom comes to face any situation, whether
it seems pleasant or not. No matter what our circumstances,
we can go through them thanking God for how it is bringing
forth His image in us.
When we like our circumstances, thanksgiving and praise
comes easily. When we don't, our vision gravitates to the
natural. We complain, get discouraged have anxiety attacks.
and question God. Life hurts and where is God anyway with
His glorious promises?
He is there with you in that situation that hurts so much.
His hand holds the tool that, while inflicting pain right
now, will leave you in greater conformity to his dear Son.
Cry out to Him. Tell Him about all your hurt and pain, but
don't stop there. Stay in His presence long enough to thank
Him for what He is doing even though you don't understand
it. Worship Him. Sing songs of praise. Sing in the Spirit.
It may take hours, days, weeks or months, but God will lift
your vision. He will open your eyes to see it is all of Him,
all birthed in His heart of love for you.
This circumstance will pass; others will come. Today and
tomorrow you cry with a broken heart, but there is a third
day, a day of resurrection. On that day you will see that
God used the dark time to do what you could not do in your
strength. He has caused more of Himself to be formed in you.
New light and life flow out of that darkness. A new depth
exists in your relationship with the Lord and your worship
of Him. The circumstance may persist, but it doesn't matter
now. You see the Lord in it; your eyes are on Him. In fact,
you are thankful for that dark time because it brought you
into a closer relationship with the Lord.
God is entrusting you with your circumstances. You may work
in an office or stay at home, be a student at a university
or Bible school, be unemployed, self-employed, retired, married,
single, disabled, handicapped, have many friends or just a
few. Over your lifetime, you will experience many things.
Each and every circumstance with which God touches our lives
is meant to bring us into His image for eternity.
God wants us to be encouraged, especially when our circumstances
are difficult. He, as the potter, is shaping us, the clay,
as seems best to Him. As we yield to His will and His working
through the circumstances of our lives, there will be not
only more of Him expressed through us in this life, but also
the fullness of Christ's image in us for eternity.
(1) John Wright Follette, "Broken Bread" (Springfield:
Gospel Publishing House, 1957), p.160.