At a recent church event, I heard something quite revolutionary, something I’d never really thought about before.
Ed Walker, the founder of Hope Into Action – the Christian charity which houses the homeless, (frequently ex-prisoners), said that a third of the Bible was written by murderers (think: Moses, David, Paul). Yep, the Bible.
I’ve thought about this many times since. And I’m struck by the realisation that God loves to use the weak, the downcast, and the broken to demonstrate his power and grace at work. The Pharisee in me finds it hard to accept that. I want to prove myself and show God what to do, and when. But He doesn’t operate like that, his ways are beyond mine and his schedule doesn’t run on Greenwich Mean Time!
Just as those heroes of the faith, I’m learning more that we don’t have to be perfect, we only need to be available, to be pliable. Willing to let ourselves be fashioned into His liking through the directions in which we’re steered. I may not be a murderer, but I’ve hated at times – which is equally sinful in God’s eyes. I’m just as flawed, still unworthy to be His child, or to be used by Him. And yet I can choose to place my life on His unique potter’s wheel, and let myself be shaped into a work of art that reflects his glory and creativity.
I wonder at the image of the master craftsman, taking lumps of misshapen clay to form something admirable and good for purpose. The time of moulding and shaping will likely be messy, uncomfortable and uncertain. Sometimes we may wonder, What on earth is God doing? It may seem hard to believe the direction He’s taking us, when other obvious routes appear simpler.
But it’s all part of the process of learning to trust. The poem below, that I wrote during a dark time, spiritually speaking, reminds me of the conflict involved in this process, in the struggle that arises when we allow ourselves to submit to the potter’s creative handiwork.
Handling the Clay
Will you still love Me even when I never answer?
Will you still trust Me even when things get darker?
Will you listen to the truths I’ve written down
They’re staring at you on the page, just look down
And read about my vision for you, my perfect plan for you
See I’m leading you through the valley, and it’s rocky along the way
But you can still look up, ‘cause after going through the valley you’ll get to
The mountain top, get to the mountain top
I’ve promised you some good things but first you’ve
Got to stop and take this in, take me in to the deepest part of
You, though wounded and fragile, I will
Form you back together into something beautiful, something beautiful
If you’ll just let me be the potter everything
Will be alright
Just let me be the potter
For I know how to handle
The clay, yes I know how to handle the clay
Will you come to me with your turmoil today?
Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
For I am the Potter and you are the clay