Annette Wiley
Sharing the message of hope.

Lump of Clay

Though I have never tried my hand at a potter’s wheel, I’m fascinated by the craft and of the amazing results. Each piece is unique and lovely and varies in finishes. Some are crafted to serve a purpose and others for display. Each is a work of art. Handmade pottery is just that. The potter’s hands are the primary tool working and forming the clay. Envisioning what they intend to create, the artist sets to work. From the mind’s eye to the lump of clay on the wheel, as the wheel gets underway, the artist’s hands press and shape the clay, never leaving it to turn unattended. Then, perhaps after several attempts, the vision of the unique shape is complete. Slowly but surely, it comes to life on the wheel through the careful handling of the potter. It must be very gratifying when the piece is finished and ready for service or display, or both.

Many stores offer mass-produced pottery of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Handcrafted items are usually found in gift shops or specialty stores. The texture of the finished product is particular to the type of clay used. Earthenware is made from terracotta clay and is reddish in color. The finer clays, such as porcelain, which is white or gray, produce items that are fired at high temperatures to harden them for everyday use. Handcrafted pottery can be expensive and rightly so. For many of us, our budgets may dictate our choice between handcrafted and manufactured items. Both are beautiful. Yet, there is something intrinsically captivating and wonderful about those created from mounds of clay in the hands of a potter.  

Several Scriptures give us images of God the Father as The Potter. It’s not a far jump to see the similarities between the Israelites and our behavior. How often did they stray and turn away from God? I have wondered why God didn’t just abandon them and find some other people to foster. But God’s in the business of creating and refining, not creating and tossing away. He will never tire of molding us, repairing us so we can live out the plan He has for us.   

Inevitably, we all garner scratches, nicks, cracks, and chips along the way. Sometimes the cracks show and other times they are almost invisible as we try to hide them from others. The flaws may come from our failures to follow God’s grace or from others who have hurt us. Either way, we need the touch of The Potter’s hands.

The process is messy and may be painful, yet wrought with tenderness and love. He takes our brokenness and remolds us, better than before. I love the image of God, forming me in my mother’s womb, and watching me grow as He continues to mold and shape me. When I feel broken or need forgiveness, I know He is holding my lump of clay in His capable hands, whispering words of love, mercy, and encouragement as He places it on the well-worn wheel, soon giving me new life. It’s like this for all of us. He wants to take our clay to his potter’s wheel. It’s not always easy to place ourselves in God’s hands. I fight it often enough. But when I cooperate, I am restored to a better version of myself. I know I will most likely blow it somewhere down the road, but I trust The Potter to pick me up again, never tiring of helping me. Each time I’m made new again, better, more aware of my tendencies to fall. For a while, the flaws and cracks are gone, and any missing pieces are added. We become strong and healed again, until, like the Israelites, we find we need another turn on The Potter’s wheel. 

Along the road to heaven, we will use poor judgment and be hurt by others. God will continue to make us new, and eventually, the fire of His kiln of love and mercy will cure us and we will glorify Him forever!    

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 RSVCE