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the Potter and the clay

yesterday at Bible study, we had a special guest speaker named Carol Oliver. she is a potter, and came to tell us all about the Biblical analogy of God being the potter and us being the clay, all from a potter's perspective, while making pottery in front of us. it couldn't have been more amazing, one hour full of breathtaking analogy. but there were some things that stood out to me. [if you ever have the chance to see her "speak" somewhere, GO!]

it was near the end of her presentation, when she was taking us through the process of firing the pottery after it had been carefully kneaded, spun, and shaped into the exact piece that the potter had planned. after it's molded, it has to be thrown into a kiln at 1800 degrees to be "fired". if it doesn't go through the fire, it can never be used. it will just crack or melt back into a messy lump of clay.

after the fire, it is thrown into a trashcan with newspaper and everything goes up in flames again. when that's finished and the lid is removed from the trashcan, can you guess what's there? well, yes, a dirty piece of pottery that needs some polishing up, but also... ashes.

the pottery has to go through the fire before it can be used. but when the fire is over, the Potter reaches in carefully, and pulls the beauty from the ashes. He cleans and scrubs and polishes until this piece, that He created from a lump of clay and for which he has planned a unique purpose, is ready to be filled up and used. filled up with Living Water... to be poured out into other pots. 
you know, seeing it through the potter's eyes, it can make you thankful for the fire. you see the significance and the necessity, in the grand scheme of God's ultimate plan for you. choose to trust instead of react. choose Him. He is faithful. don't you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? the flames didn't even touch them. their clothes didn't smell of smoke. the only thing that burned away were the ties that bound their hands. and Jesus Himself was right there in the fire with them. [read the whole story in Daniel chapter 3].

When you pass through the waters, 
I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, 
they will not sweep over you. 
When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be burned; 
the flames will not set you ablaze.


  1. Didn't know that about pottery, how profound. Thanks for sharing.

  2. also, of course, i randomly opened my Bible to that story. i wasn't lookin' for it.

  3. shoot. i was reading this, totally tracking with WHY this meant so much for you and how it is just a confirmation of all the lessons lately, etc. etc. but then, you caught me off guard. i just read the story of the guys in the fiery furnace about an hour ago in my quiet time. i was so moved and fixed on the emphasis in scripture that their clothes were not burned and that they didn't even smell of smoke. you repeating this is so for me. i'm not totally sure why, but it's for me. again. twice in one hour. weird. i think perhaps the challenge for me is unwavering, fearless, truth-telling, like those guys did.


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