Read Isaiah 64
Focus on verse 8
The art of making pottery is an amazing thing to watch, particularly when the potter is a master of the art. It all begins with a shapeless lump of clay, which is dropped on the potter’s wheel. As the wheel turns the potter shapes the clay working it with his fingers, shaping, molding, and thinning the sides…it is typically a matter of minutes and the basic shape is complete. When the wheel finally stops there may be non-symmetrical features to be added; the handle on the mug, the spout if it is a pitcher, and a variety of artistic, ornamental modifications. When the piece is complete and the clay has set, the paint is applied. The final step is to place the piece in the firing oven where it is essentially baked at a high temperature, which hardens the clay and bonds the paint. What comes out of the oven often looks significantly different than what is placed into the oven. When it goes in the color is a dull matte, which when transformed by the heat turn into brilliant, glossy colorful works of art.
In todays reading, Isaiah describes God as not only “our Father”, but as “our potter”, and he describes us as the clay, concluding by saying, “we are all the work of your hand.” This is a fitting description of the relationship we have with God. He created us; formed us from dust giving us beauty, and uniqueness. Pottery that is hand made by an artisan is always unique. While there may be pieces that are very similar, no two pieces are truly identical, just as no two humans are exactly identical. Even those whom we call “identical twins” are not truly identical. Just like the hand made pots of a potter, we have little flaws and unique markings that give us our individual personalities and characteristics. Just as the different vessels made by a potter have different uses, God creates us with unique gifts and abilities to fulfill many different roles and purposes. Imagine how boring and uninteresting the world would be if we were all identical in every way! It wouldn’t even be functional! It would be similar to only having cereal identical bowls to use for eating, drinking, cooking, and serving! It would be both highly impractical as well as unbearably boring!
Being unique has some challenges as well. Our differences sometimes cause conflict. When God is shaping us into the vessel that He knows will best suit the purpose for which He created us it can be stressful as he squeezes and bends and molds us into the exact shape that suits His purpose…and then comes the fire! Interestingly, God sometimes allows us to postpone parts of the process, but it is only as we pass through the fire that we can be prepared to fulfill our destiny. It is only as we pass through the fire that our true colors finally become visible.