"And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
We are the clay, and you are the potter.
We all are formed by your hand."
Isaiah 64:8 NLT
There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups.
Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked, "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful."
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me, pounded and patted me, over and over and I yelled out, "Don't do that. I don't like it! Leave me alone!" But He only smiled and gently said, "Not yet."
Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was made to suit Himself and then He put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see Him through the opening and I could read His lips as He shook His head from side to side, "Not yet."
When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! "Ah, this is much better," I thought.
But after I cooled, He picked me up and He brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. "Oh, please, stop it, stop!" I cried. He only shook His head and said, "Not yet."
Then suddenly, He puts me back into the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then, the door opened and He took me out and again, placed me on the shelf, where I waited and waited, wondering, "What's He going to do to me next?"
An hour later, He handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself." And I did. I said, "That's not me. That couldn't be me. It's beautiful! I'm beautiful!"
Quietly He spoke, "I want you to remember. I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted. But had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."
I know this is a long story, but it has such a great moral. The moral is this--God knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the--your--potter, and you are His clay. He will mold you and make you and expose you to just enough pressures, of just the right kinds, so that you may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good--pleasing and perfect.
So, when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed, almost beyond endurance, when your world seems to be spinning out of control, when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials, when life seems to 'stink', try this--make yourself a cup of tea in your favorite cup, sit down, think on this story and then, have a little talk with your Potter.