“God’s shaping is always done in love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 18, 2022
But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8
When I was in college, I signed up for a ceramics class. One of the first things we learned was how to “wedge” the clay to make it soft and ready for use before sitting at the potter’s wheel. This image brings the word “pliable” to mind as well as Isaiah 64:8 which says that we are clay in God’s hand; He is our Potter.
Being pliable in the Potter’s hand involves receiving with grace all the shaping events of our lives, both good and bad. If we cannot—or refuse—to receive all events, those that have hurt us, as well as those that have blessed us, our shaping will be hindered. We may become bitter, ungrateful, or distrusting. Then, our growth can become stunted, and the events that God meant for good will be used for evil and wasted.
When God disciplined the Israelites, he told them that the refining fire that they went through was in vain (Jeremiah 6:29). They did not receive it. Their disciplining was a shaping event that they did not allow God to use for their transformation.
I think about people who know how to receive—with grace—all the events of their lives, both good and bad. These are shining souls who are an inspiration, and they are always looking for what God is doing and what He wants them to learn.
They do not languish in “Why?” but become empowered by “What?” God, what do you want me to learn, what do you want me to do?
Just before my friend, Maxine, passed away from cancer, she told me, “I don’t know exactly why, but I know this is the path I am supposed to walk.” She saw her circumstances as part of her shaping, and she knew she was in the loving Potter’s hand.
Even days before her death, she saw purpose in God using cancer to change her and others around her. Just days before she died, she said to me with love in her eyes, “I taught you how to live, now I’m going to show you how to die.” She did it with grace, beauty, and faith. It’s something I will never forget. Her experience shaped even me.
When I think about hurtful circumstances and events in my life, I clearly see how they have shaped me, how God has used these to make me into who I am.
Receiving all experiences, good and bad, doesn’t mean we call evil good. It doesn’t mean we say God is the author of evil. It doesn’t mean we have to say we are happy that painful, difficult, or tragic experiences happened. It simply means we acknowledge that everything is used by God to shape us, to make us into who He wants us to become. And, as the clay, we are always held in the loving Potter’s hand, through every life experience, to sanctify us and make us more like him.
I recently read a quote in a book by Stephen W. Smith titled “30 Days with the Potter” which said, “Being formed involves knowing, accepting, and becoming grateful for the many facets of soul shaping.” We must remember that we are never out of His hand. He is the potter. We are the clay. Let us allow Him to do with us as He wills. His work is always done in love.
“Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:6).
Lord, thank you for all the shaping events that you allow into my life. Help me to receive them with grace. Amen.
How are you receiving God’s shaping in your life? Think about events and circumstances that are happening in you and to you right now and ask yourself and the Lord, how you are receiving His shaping.
Hillsong Worship: The Potter’s Hand
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