In the Potter's Hands

As a loving parent disciplines a child, so our God will discipline His children.

As I listened to a sermon a few days ago, the words below filled my ears and clung to my memory, reminding me of God’s definitive illustration of a father’s love:

“And if {a} man belongs to {God}, He will break that man into an absolute million pieces if necessary, to get him ready for eternity.”

            I, for one, can attest to the truth of that statement.  And I often bemoan my circumstance and ask “Why me, God?  Why now?”  Sometimes I just see my situation through earthly eyes, not spiritual eyes, and in doing so receive not the blessing He wishes to give.  I complain; I do.  I wonder about the unfairness of it all while I should be turning toward Him and His promises and thanking Him for His reproof! 

Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  
For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.”
Job 5:17-18

It’s good to set a spiritually developmental plan for ourselves to keep us drawing closer to the Lord through our consistency.  Yet we cannot possibly sculpt ourselves as well as He can.  Since God formed man out of dust, there can be no doubt as to whom the potter is and whom the clay is.  There are matters of the heart He sees that we cannot.  And His great love for us will not allow Him to do nothing about it; He will begin chipping away; breaking us.

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it…”
Jeremiah 18:4

          The Bible tells us that it “rains on the just and the unjust.”  Perhaps we are victim of a circumstance that isn’t a divine correction from our heavenly Father.  But does the circumstance try our faith?  Test our mettle?  Tax our patience?  God didn’t test Job, but He allowed him to be tested to prove his great faith.  In like manner are we also tried. 

          Yet we are reminded that “all things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are called according to His purpose.”

          Having our finely sculpted persona redesigned is going to hurt, even if the fettling knife is in the gentlest of hands. 

          Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia which describes the molding process of clay:

          “During the process of throwing, the wheel rotates rapidly while the solid ball of soft clay is pressed, squeezed and pulled gently upwards and outwards into a hollow shape. The next steps {are} throwing or pulling (drawing up and shaping the walls to an even thickness), and trimming or turning (removing excess clay to refine the shape or to create a foot).”
           “Considerable skill and experience are required to throw pots of an acceptable standard.  These can then be altered by impressing, bulging, carvingfluting, and incising. In addition to the potter's hands these techniques can use tools, including paddles, anvils & ribs, and those specifically for cutting or piercing such as knives, fluting tools and wires. Thrown pieces can be further modified by the attachment of handles, lids, feet and spouts.

“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:6

Those hands will mold us or allow us to be molded into a greater disciple of God, desiring that we draw near to Him through the process; not away from Him.

            Is that not what God’s purpose is in “breaking us?”  He wants to draw us closer to Himself.  He wants His children to need Him, every day; in every situation.  And He will allow us some circumstances in which we will turn to Him, crying out for His mercy, peace, and love.  Yet love is exactly what He is showing us as He allows us to go through some things… for our own soul’s benefit.

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.”
Proverbs 3:11-12

    It has been said that the true man is revealed not when all is going well, but when he is under pressure. 

    The sad truth is that we will fail.  We will disappoint.  When all eyes are upon us, at some point in our lives, we will fall short of expectation.

    Nevertheless, our motives ought to be greater than our circumstances.  Our intentions ought to be the driving force of our actions.

    God has given us so many promises to cling to in times of trouble.  If we ask, we will receive.  He has promised that are never alone.  We are never forgotten.  We are always looked upon with love.

  He may allow an unpleasant situation to come to us in order to knock down the barrier- however small- we’ve built between ourselves and Him, but He is also willing and ready to carry us through it.

 …If we will allow Him.

  He will do whatever it takes to keep us right, real and true; close to His heart.  If we become as hardened clay He cannot possibly mold us; He must first break us.

“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”
Romans 9:20-21

   The success of His endeavor depends upon our reaction to it.

h. rae


  1. Yes, listening to discipline is so beneficial, even life-saving. In addition to your wonderful scriptures,I also love Hebrews 12:11: "True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness." Accepting divine discipline can really help us draw closer to God.

  2. Wow! Truly amazing how this happens....Pastor Kendrick preached on this today...You did a great post H.Rae! Thanks for reminding all of us...to be willing to be put on the Potter's wheel.


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