Thrown on the Potter’s Wheel

Thrown on the potter's wheel
Last week I shared about how our “now” is held in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15). I continue to find references to God’s hands in Scripture. Next up: Jeremiah.
The book of Jeremiah gets a bad rap. It can be hard to read. Jeremiah is kind of a weird dude. In fact, I’ve struggled to read the book. But once I read Jeremiah alongside Eugene Peterson’s Run with Horses, the experience changed. If you’ve struggled to read Jeremiah, maybe try picking up Peterson’s book to help you dig in.
In Jeremiah 18, the prophet recalls a word from the Lord about the potter’s house.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”
Verse 4 really stuck out to me. The potter looked at what was being shaped and realized the form was marred. To be marred is to have an impaired appearance or quality. So the potter begins the process again and forms a new creation, “shaping it as seemed best to him.”
You already know where this going, right? To quote Eugene Peterson:
The life of faith is very physical. Being a Christian is very much a matter of the flesh—of space and time and things. It means being thrown on the potter’s wheel and shaped, our entire selves, into something useful and beautiful. And when we are not useful or beautiful we are reshaped. Painful, but worth it.
I feel like I am going through a season of reshaping. And it is painful. In makes my brain hurt. My soul wince. My eyes red. It is humiliating. And nearly 100% of the time it does not feel worth it. It feels mean and heartless and a waste. Who wouldn’t want an easier path to walk (ummm, me). But the worst part is feeling like this season is not God-directed. I know this is ludicrous – I do intellectually know God is in control but the truth doesn’t seem real (do you know what I mean?).
When I read Jeremiah’s word from the Lord, I realize that I’m a lump of clay fighting the Potter’s hand. Later in chapter 18, the challenge for God’s people was to turn from their evil ways, reform their ways and actions but instead they said “It’s no use. We will continue with our own stubborn plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.”
I’m so convicted by these verses I do not know where to begin, except to say that when I feel like fighting the most is the moment when I must submit my stubborn heart to the hands of God reshaping me. And I want to invite you to do the same. Instead of resistance, be reshaped on the Potter’s wheel.

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