Trials of a Clay Pot

Trials of a Clay Pot

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Most of us have heard the analogies of God as the potter and us as the clay through sermons and books. But recently the story came to visual life as a talented art teacher was speaking at my church and while he taught he created clay vessels on his potter’s wheel. As he twirled the wheel with his foot, his hands worked the clay until the object in his mind formed on the plate.

The condition of the clay is not always the same—sometimes harder or sometimes softer. Even though his hands were forming, the clay had to submit to the fingers pressing in on it. If the clay was too hard, the bowl he wanted to create did not turn out like he planned.

One thing the artist revealed about clay that I did not know was that if it was left in the first stage of drying it would be more fragile than after it was fired. He held up a bowl that had been left in the air to dry and the edge had been broken off. When he tried to pick the bowl up by the rim, the clay, although dry, was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of his hands. The teacher flicked his finger against the rim of the bowl and the pottery made a dull, empty sound.

The next bowl on the table had been through one firing. The speaker flicked his finger against the rim and a ringing sound was heard. The firing of the clay had made the bowl stronger and the sound more musical.

The creator is still not finished with his project. Another piece of art he displayed had been through the second firing with the glaze applied to create a beautiful color. But the second firing also creates a more distinct and bell tone ring when tapped with the artist’s finger.

We go through many “firings” in our lifetime. We can stay like the first unfired bowl and remain fragile and with no song to sing. Firings we go through can make us stronger or destroy us. The difference is the condition of our heart when we are tried in the fire. A hardened heart will not submit to God but will give in to the trial in defeat. A soft heart submitted to the Lord will use His power and Word to overcome.

Simply being attacked by some trial or adversity doesn’t produce strength. Our song comes when we stand on the Word of God and resist the attacks of the devil. Then and only then are we stronger because we came through the fire—we were not consumed by it.

Some clay pots that go through firings can come out broken and useless. The difference is in the strength of the clay–become ash or a singing vessel.

God doesn’t send the trials. The difficulties come from our enemy because he wants to discourage us enough to get us to give up and stay away from the Word of God (Mark 4:17). That’s why when we stand on the Word, we can be in the fire without being consumed. And our song will keep on singing.

Barbara Latta About Barbara Latta

Barbara Latta’s desire is to help others find intimacy with God through a deeper understanding of the power of the Word. She writes a monthly column in her local newspaper and contributes to devotional websites and several anthologies. Her first book, God's Maps, Stories of Inspiration and Direction for Motorcycle Riders was released in March, 2018 and is available at Amazon. She serves as Chaplain for the Word Weavers Madison, Georgia chapter. Barbara posts on her blog.

Comments

  1. “Simply being attacked by some trial or adversity doesn’t produce strength. Our song comes when we stand on the Word of God and resist the attacks of the devil. Then and only then are we stronger because we came through the fire—we were not consumed by it.”
    So important that you pointed out the differences that are already there BEFORE we go through the fire.

    • Yes, Linda. I have heard so many people say that God sends trials to make us stronger. If that were true we would all be as strong as a brick wall because we all have trials in life but we must overcome to be stronger. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Thanks for your post! The words are for me today.

  3. Laurie Driesen says:

    I love how you explained the “firings” of life. I don’t want to become brittle in my firings. I’m trusting God to use my trials to make me more like Him. This post is such great encouragement for us to not give up!

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