God's plan

When the Clay Knows More than the Potter

What we perceive as trouble may be the potter finessing the clay.

I’ve never thrown pottery on a pottery wheel, but I’ve played with Play-Doh a whole lot. I’m really good at making Play-Doh snakes and, with enough snakes, I can create a lop-sided bowl-type vessel. I have decades of Play-Doh experience.

In all those years, the Play-Doh has never grumbled back at me.

The Bible often refers to people as clay and God as the potter. Just as a potter creates what he wants to from the clay, God creates us just as he chooses. But unlike real clay, we humans often complain about how he’s shaping our lives. When things go wrong, we question God’s presence. How could God allow this to happen to me? Doesn’t he care about me?

The Bible explains that when we complain about God, we’re like clay criticizing the potter. How ridiculous is it for the creation to criticize the Creator? Isaiah 45:9 says, “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’”

The potter, out of his wisdom and creativity, shapes the clay into whatever vessel he sees fit. And God, out of his wisdom, creativity, and abounding love, shapes us in the way he knows is best for our lives and for his glory. How absurd is it for us to second guess God’s plan for our lives?

God dropped some knowledge about potters and clay on all of us through Jeremiah. (See Jeremiah 18:1-6.) At a potter’s shop, the vessel the potter was forming wasn’t turning out as he wanted, so he broke it down to a lump of clay again and reshaped it to make it the vessel he envisioned.

There are times when we are broken, like that vessel on the potter’s wheel that’s been crushed into a lump of clay. I know—I’ve been there. Some of you may be in that place right now.

In times of brokenness, we have a choice to make.

We can choose to complain about our Creator, criticize how he orders our lives, and doubt his ability to craft us into vessels that bring him glory.

Or, we can choose to rest confidently in his loving hands, acknowledging that he knows best.

Our choice shows who is really sovereign in our lives. When we act as if we could do a better job running our lives than God does, we dethrone God and put the crown on our own head and the scepter in our own hands. And, friend, no good can come from that.

But when we yield ourselves to God’s plan and trust him through the difficult and broken times, we discover he is worthy of our trust. Our faith grows stronger. And we find enduring joy as we become the glorious vessel he always intended us to be.

Dear God, I acknowledge that you are the Creator and I am the created. Help me trust your wisdom and your plan through the difficult times of my life. Give me faith and courage to embrace your order for my life, even when it may not make sense to me. Use me for your glory. In Jesus’s name, amen.