Monday, July 24, 2006

The Potter and the Fire

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

When I was a young girl, my mom sent me to Summer Ceramics classes at a local community center. Each year, I'd come home with rather average looking nicknacks which my mom would allow me to decorate the house and my room with. My first piece was a small persian cat. I took the white, chalky form and scraped and smoothed the edges left from the mold, then I painted it, adding whiskers and eyelashes and a delicate pink for the mouth. After that was done, I put a clear glaze over it. I was quite proud of the result and thought, after the paint dried, I could take my cat home. Our teacher told me I couldn't take it home until after it had been fired. She walked the class over to the kiln and showed us a before piece. Like my cat, the paint was matte-looking, nice enough but drab. She also said that a little too much water or rough handling and the piece would break into a chalky mess. Then she showed us the piece after it went through the fire. The colors were vibrant, the heat-activated glaze (which had no effect on the piece before) now shone like the noon-day. My cat went from ok to a shiny, glimmery treasure I couldn't wait to show everyone!

The work of Our Potter on us is much the same. The real beauty can not be seen until we have been passed through the fire.

The fire is what fixes the work and makes it shine before men.

I think, so often, when we read the verse quoted above, we think it stops there. We think we simply have to be pliant and moldable and submissive to the work of His hands. But that is not all. What he forms in us must be passed through the fire for it to be "tested" and in order for it to become a fixed part of who we are. Only after trials or testing is this work then finished and suitable for use in ministry. If we try to use it before it's been tried, we will just have a mess. But if we submit to the fire and do not try to escape its heat, we will "come forth as gold," (Job 23:10) and, all will see the radiance of His glory in us and praise our Father in Heaven.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! And so true! But a little scary, I confess.