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The Potter and The Clay
by LaBreeska Hemphill
If we as Christians could view our suffering as being able to feel the potter's fingers around our clay, shaping our vessels into one of honor, bending our will and surrendering to His will, then we could better stand the test.
“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as the potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand...” (Jeremiah 18:6).
On the Damascus Road Paul received one of the greatest calls a man could receive. It was a call to glory. He was chosen to preach Christ to the Gentiles, to kings, and rulers, and even to Caesar's household.
This was a call to be one of the greatest apostles, and to write more of the New Testament than any other. His testimony at the end of his life was:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness...” (II Timothy 4:7-8).
What a testimony! What glory! But this marvelous call to glory was also a call to suffering. Jesus said of Paul:
“...he is a chosen vessel unto me...I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake” (Acts 9:15-16).
Paul’s suffering began immediately following his Damascus Road experience. God took a marred vessel, Saul of Tarsus, put him upon the potter's wheel and reshaped him into Paul the great apostle. After that, Paul’s message everywhere he went was, “...we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). This message of Paul’s is an unpopular one that you seldom hear today. But suffering serves a purpose and ministers that do not include this message to their people do them a disservice.
When we are called of God there is much reshaping that takes place. The potter's wheel isn’t a real comfortable place to be but it is necessary. That’s where we learn to become pliable in His hands. We learn endurance and patience as He molds us into soldiers of the cross. God is gathering His army. Paul understood that when he said to Timothy:
“...endure hardness as a good soldier” (II Timothy 2:3).
He is preparing us for a journey. Boot-camp is grueling but that’s where we learn enemy strategy so that we can win the battle and conquer the foe. The very thing that tries and tests us could be preparing us for our station in battle. It could be our boot-camp. Take courage! We must learn how to combat the enemy so that we can help lead God’s army to victory!
It’s a good thing that God doesn’t only see us as we are, but like Paul, God sees us the way we’ll be when He gets through with us. In the meantime we can take comfort in his Holy Spirit and His word.
There are certain Scriptures that I’ve drawn strength from through the years and have highlighted in my Bible. Sometime back I grouped a few of these verses together and typed them out for my own comfort. They are not in sequence. I just wrote them down at random but they are strong and very encouraging. I decided since they blessed me and have seen me through some difficult times they would do the same for you. I start this collage of Scriptures off with my very favorite, so please read and be blessed!
“Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing has happened to you, but rejoice that you may be partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:12-13).
“For if we suffer as Christians we have no need to be ashamed but we can glorify God and commit the keeping of our souls to him, our faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:16-19).
“It is better, if it be God’s will, that we suffer for well-doing than for evildoing. For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judges righteously” (I Peter 3:17-18; 2:23).
“For it became him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of our salvation perfect thru sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10).
“Though he were a Son yet leaned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
“For though he was crucified thru weakness, yet he lives by the power of God" (II Corinthians 13:4).