Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we are all the work of Your hand.”1
Here and in several other passages in the Bible, the Lord is likened to a potter and us to the clay in His hands—clay which He wants to form into a vessel that is fit for His use.2
The potter begins by taking a hunk of clay and placing it on his potter’s wheel. As the wheel turns the clay, he molds and fashions it into what he hopes will be a beautiful vessel. All the while, the clay must move and yield to the movements of the potter’s hand. It takes time.
Sometimes the potter discovers an imperfection, a lump or a mar. When that happens, he will crush the vessel he’s been working on, add a little water to the clay to soften it again, knead it until it’s nice and soft and malleable, and then remake it into a new and better vessel.
At first it probably doesn’t seem like a very good thing to that vessel when its maker suddenly starts mashing and smashing and crushing and remaking it, but in the long run it becomes a better vessel for that.
And just when the vessel thinks the worst is behind, into the white-hot kiln it goes to harden it, but it becomes a stronger vessel for it.
“The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. … ‘Can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the Lord. ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand!’”3
Does the clay have any right to question the potter’s judgment? “Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay?”4
Remember: everything that God does, He does in love. He is making you into a beautiful vessel, uniquely special to Him. He is making you into a useful vessel to bear the water of His love that He wants to pour through you to refresh others. You’re in the best of hands. Trust Him.
God only uses broken men and women—no others will do. The others are too self-confident. God has to break them, melt them, and mold them again in the hands of the Potter, to make them a better vessel. But He won’t force it! The breaking depends upon you and your yieldedness and willingness to be made willing—willing to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything, for anybody, and be nobody, to please Him and help others.—D.B.B.
Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way.
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
—Adelaide A. Pollard