Clay that is soft can be made into something useful. If some defect is found in it while it is being made into a useful vessel, it can be pressed back into a lump and remade. But once it is hardened with a defect, like the stubborn people of Judah who refused to repent, the clay jar will be smashed to pieces (see Jeremiah 19:10, 11). It cannot be repaired.
But God desires us to be like the clay in His hand which can be made into something useful. If we yield ourselves to Him without complaining and grumbling, then God can shape us in a way that seems best to Him. But if we resist His plans for us, He will have to crush us so that we will yield. That is why God says, “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand” (Jeremiah 18:6 NIV). He has the right and authority to decide what to do with us. We can either cooperate with Him or resist Him.
The comforting thing that we need to note is that God the Potter has a plan in mind when He sits at the wheel shaping the clay. As children of God we should never be in doubt about the divine plan and purpose of God in our lives. Isn’t it because we think that our plans are better than God’s that we try to live life our own way? It is then that the pot that is being shaped is marred in the Potter’s hand.
But still there is hope. If we repent of our stubbornness and pride and humble ourselves before God, He will still shape us into something useful. His plans for our lives are for our good, to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). That can happen even when the punishment for our disobedience has come like it came to the Israelites who were carried into captivity in Babylon.
So what is your response to this message? Will you recognize the fact that God is the One in control of your life, and not you yourself? That is evident from the fact that the clay cannot shape itself into anything useful; isn’t it? The clay needs the hand of the potter to shape it. And God is the Potter shaping your life.
Imagine a lump of clay wriggling and tossing here and there while it is being shaped! Will it become anything useful? Definitely not. So let us stop our struggles against God’s plan for us. Instead let us become obedient to God so that He will shape us into vessels of honour which will bring God glory.
One final thought. The potter is at work with each individual pot he is making. So know that God is giving you great personal attention because you are the object of His great love and affection. Never forget that truth.