(second in a six part series)
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Jeremiah 18:1-2
After the design was conceived, I was ready to begin. As I began to knead this fresh lump of clay, it felt tough, there were some ‘hard’ spots and it would not really ‘give’ to my hands. This was hard work! Gradually, listening to Marty, the clay became pliable and workable. “But Lord, I don’t really want to change.” we whine as he begins to stretch and work with our hearts. “Why are your stretching me like this? Look, Lord, I realize I’m not exactly what you desire me to be, but come on, lumps are pretty nice sometimes!” Our loving Master potter seems not to hear our whining and continues to work, relentless in his pursuit of shaping us into his very own image!
Then the slamming came. Pow! Slap! Bam! Loud noises were coming from the impact of slamming this piece of clay has hard as I could on the table. And Marty stood quietly by and said, ‘Harder.” I began to remember the times in my life when I could hear the sound of my own heart as it was being slammed. Pow! You didn’t get the job. Wham! The death of parents! Bam! The tight squeeze of financial pressure! The dream that didn’t come true! “Lord? what is this about?” “Are you there?” “Where are you when I need to hear that comforting voice or feel your warm peace?” And His quiet, strong voice simply says, “Harder.” We’ve all been there. But the process continues.
Marty explained how this process is essential. This causes the fibers of the clay to elongate, stretch and homogenize. Proper kneading, wedging (a cutting process. Ouch!) and slamming cause the clay to become the right consistency and removes air bubbles and the hard places. You see if these air bubbles are not removed from the clay prior to the firing, the piece would explode in the fire. Totally lost forever. A heap of ashes. And the hard places would cause cracks or defects in the finished product. “Oh My! Lord, do I have those hard places? Those air bubbles?”
Does our Father enjoy or take pleasure in watching us being slammed or wedged or kneaded? No. But he allows it because he sees the fire ahead! He knows the high temperatures we will be facing and wants to see us make it through. When this slamming process is over this clay has become my clay, and I desire beauty instead of ashes. During this process my DNA is thoroughly kneaded into every fiber of it’s being. My heart is now in this clay.
Did you know that in Hebrew the word ‘beauty’ and ‘ashes’ are the exact same four Hebrew letters? They are just arranged differently. One spelling is ‘ashes,’ which is exactly what this clay would be if it were fired without the slamming. Ah, but when the letters are rearranged, like the fibers and particles of this clay, they spell ‘beauty.’ Our loving Creator, our Master potter has taken the time and the spent great effort to knead, slam and rearrange our lives so that His DNA is totally integrated within our being. As we become ready for the fire, we will become beautiful instead of an ash heap! He has plans for us! Good plans! Plans to give us a hope and a future.