Sometimes it feels like life is in a continuous process of building us up and breaking us down. After each peak that we conquer we already anxiously await the next valley, or the next time that we lose our footing and come crashing down back to the beginning of the very mountain we thought we had just overcame. It left me thinking why God would allow us to lose our footing? Why would He force us down only to revisit the very path that we had just walked? If we are the clay in His hands, and He is the potter, why does it feel like we are sometimes being undone to the seemingly shapeless form we began as?
It is easy to imagine us being the clay in God’s hands as he carefully molds us into the image He has always held for us. As He sculpts He may add clay in some areas, and remove it in others, fully knowing what each of us needs to become who we were truly meant to be. Yet sculpting and shaping clay can only occur once it has has been properly wedged, and like clay, perhaps we too must be wedged if we are to take a permanent hold of God’s plan.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.Isaiah 64:8
Wedging clay simply refers to the process of eliminating air bubbles within the clay. If these air bubbles are not removed, then the clay can crack or even explode when fired, ruining even the most beautiful of pieces. Wedging clay is a direct contrast to sculpting it; it can be violent as the clay is slammed against the potter’s table, and it can also involve a great deal of pressure as the potter kneads it in his hands, twisting and pulling it until the last pockets of air have been eliminated. To the untrained eye it may appear chaotic, even careless, but to the potter each movement is deliberate and planned. Perhaps this is no different than how God sees us and how He sometimes knows its fitting to break us down, only to rebuild us into something stronger if we don’t lose sight of His process.
What if each trial we face, each time we fall down, and each time we are broken apart isn’t God turning his back on us but rather is His way of wedging the clay of our character? What if it is in those moments that his attention is directed firmly at us and all we need to do is to have faith and to trust Him? I heard a snippet of a sermon today where the pastor mentioned that God’s love language is trust. Perhaps the things that keep us from fully trusting God are those last air pockets within ourselves that need to come out. Maybe that is where God wants us to arrive, the place where nothing is keeping us from trusting Him fully with our lives and of those around us. Perhaps only then can we finally be still and let the potter do what He does best.