Last weekend, I heard an incredible message that really struck a chord with me. The speaker, Pastor Pierre Du Plessis, talked about how we are like clay and God is the Master Potter.
Growing up in the church, I heard a number of messages along these lines — i.e. being soft and mold-able in the hands of God. But I’m telling you, this message was pretty earth-shaking. You can listen to it here if you would also like the ground beneath you to shake.
One part in particular that really got to me was this statement: Just when you think you’re a finished product, the Potter destroys the clay and sends it back to the starting point.
Just when you think you’re some “perfect Christian” — serving God, being a pretty decent human being — He’s likely to shake things up. Because the truth is, until we die, we are never a finished product. Every day of life is a day on the spinning wheel of God, the Master Potter.
In pottery terms, a pot may look perfect, but the potter is able to see imperfections and air bubbles in the clay that keep it from being finished. So the potter destroys the seemingly completed product and starts from scratch.
The statement about going back to the “starting point” shook me up because I have experienced that in my own life over the last few years. Three years ago, I was a relatively successful young professional living in a huge city, Houston. I was also been used in a big way in ministry, writing, coaching, and performing in dramas for kids at the biggest church in America. I even got to preach the messages in kids’ church sometimes, and I am far cry from being a pastor!
I didn’t think at the time, “Wow, I’ve arrived! I’m doing so much for God. Yay, me!” But probably, in the back of my head, I was pretty impressed with myself. And yet there were still so many weaknesses and insecurities in my life that still needed to be worked out, even as I was ministering to all of these kids (and I am still a work in progress).
When Devon and I got married, God basically decided to send me back to Square 1. And, ironically enough, He decided to send me back to the place where my walk with Him began as a child — Tulsa. Starting about high school, I resolutely decided that I would move away from Tulsa after college and never move back. And that’s what I did — for about five years. But God decided He wanted this to be the place where He would start our marriage — where He would take me back to a place of repentance and trust. Basically, it felt like He played a board game with my life and I was sent back to the Start.
“It is the loving kindness of the potter that says, ‘Let’s start again,’” Du Plessis says in his message.
It is beyond our feeble human minds to understand why God seemingly makes us start over in life sometimes. Why He takes careers that were thriving in the world’s eyes and gives us careers that are laughable in the world’s eyes. Why He takes us from a place where we are swarming with friends to a place where we have no one to talk to. Why He makes us return to places that we thought we would never have to go back to and see people we never thought we would ever have to face again.
Ultimately, it is because He cares about the finished product of our lives. “By the time the potter touches the clay, He already has a full concept of the finished product,” Du Plessis said.
Sometimes, God brings us back to Square 1. But He’s not up in heaven laughing at our suffering and frustration; He is trying to teach us valuable lessons, and make sure we come out complete this spin around. As long as we stay soft and mold-able in His hands, the Potter will shape our lives into exactly what they were meant to be.