Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sometimes We Just have to Admit that We Are Crackpots

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places when other people see nothing…Camille Pissarro.”

Isn’t it amazing that, by “coincidence”, a book appears right when we need its message?  I am referring to a book by Jill Austin titled “Master Potter”. It was sitting on my shelf for a long time waiting to be reread. I was pondering our discussion for this week. I was trying to sort out how I could explain what was going on in my life. It wasn’t even totally clear to me. This book helped to bring clarity.
It’s an allegorical book about a broken clay vessel named Forsaken, who is discarded in the Potter’s Field. The Master Potter finds her there. She goes from being Forsaken to being called Beloved, as she trusts her life to Jesus. However, it doesn’t end there…no no no… by any means. This is true for us too.
She goes through a process, as a piece of pottery in progress. Our lives, like hers, are clay in the Master’s hands
In pottery, there are stages of development of a piece of pottery. Our lives, as a Christian,  mirror this.
The first stage is the wet stage. This is when the clay is thrown on the wheel.  It looks like a blob to onlookers but the potter can picture what he is creating.
 There is a stage called wedging where the clay is kind of “beaten” to take away air bubbles, so that when it bakes…it will not crack.  There was one heading in the book that said “Ouch Lord, that hurts!” I am sure that was said in this stage.
Then, there is a stage called leather hard stage.  It is when the clay becomes more hardened, yet still pliable and can be impressed with markings and additions to make it more beautiful.
Once the piece is formed…it goes into a VERY hot oven to be fired. There it becomes bisque. It comes out hardened, but rough looking.
Once that is cooled, it is glazed. The recipe for glazing is a creation of the Potter and is sometimes a secret formula. After the glazing step, it then again goes back into the fire for completion.
In the beginning of my walk with the Lord, when I read the scripture about us being the clay and the Lord being the Potter, I had a simplistic view of the process. In my mind, I only held the picture of me being on a wheel, as a lump and that the Master was “forming me” It seemed so lovely and beautiful, really.  Was it the full picture? Au contraire. It was only “part of the truth” but not” the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey, the radio host used to say.
In our walk with the Lord, there is our destiny that He envisions we will attain. It is crystal clear to Him, right from the beginning. Thank God, He sees the finished product. You know why? In the process we may have questions or should I say we WILL have questions  of why this life issue is so painful, why did this or that happen and why am I going through this?..At those times, we may conclude that the Lord has abandoned us, forgetting that, all along, we are being formed into His image. Isaiah 29:16 talks about this “Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “He did not make me?” Can a pot say to the Potter, “He knows nothing?”
So where I… the Pot…the Vessel… who He tenderly calls His Beloved, find myself, is in the fire of refinement. He’s burning away all the impurities and “junk” in me that is not of Him. The funny part of telling you this is, I already thought I had gone through this process…several times.  Didn’t I Lord? I actually have. Perhaps what I didn’t realize is that He loves me so much, He cannot and will not leave me weak and vulnerable to destruction.  I am not here because He wants to hurt me or destroy me. Nothing could be further from the truth. What He is after is a vessel that can be strong enough to carry His glory.  He needs a vessel that will not crack under the pressures of this world or succumb to the onslaught of our enemy…His enemy. He desires a vessel that will be Beautiful to behold…not because of any innate beauty I was born with, but because of how beautiful I have become, intimately knowing Him.
Our world needs to behold His glory. I don’t know about you but it has always amazed me, is that He has chosen earthen vessels (you and I) to shine and show forth His light to the world.
What humility and love He has, , not to hoard His love and glory. He trusts us and He has to believe that we will do it.
I still stand amazed!  How about you?
Linda Maynard

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