Jeremiah 18:4 – and the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do (RSV).
A fine china teapot begins with a lump of ugly, plain clay that is pinched and reshaped until the potter is pleased with the texture. It is whizzed around on a wheel until even the watchers feel dizzy, then placedin an oven so hot that it seems it must melt under the pressure. Surviving pieces are painted with smelly paint. The teapot is fired a second time in an oven twice as hot as the first. Finally, it sits on a shelf to cool. Eventually, if the clay takes all the pressure, hold the shape it has been pressed into, withstands the firing, painting and the shelf, it will be able to serve up refreshing comfort.
Where are we in the Master Potter’s hands? Submitting to life’s pressures or trying to escape them? Standing firm in our particular furnace, peacefully sitting on a shelf or feeling quite useless there? God forbid that any of us should be among the discarded.
Prayer: Dear Master Potter, we thought our lives would be different. We expected more happiness, less loneliness, and fewer mistakes. But here we are, still in your hands! We wait the next step in your firing process. Help us stand the pressure so that we will become like fine china teapots, pouring out for you. Amen