An Interesting Twist on the "Potter and the Clay" Story!
– by Jacki
A while back, as I was awakening from a good night's sleep and hadn't fully "come to," I had such a profound spiritual experience, that I wanted to share it…
I had been pondering what it really means to surrender ourselves "with complete abandon" to God—even in the difficult times. Suddenly, an "image" came to mind so clearly and vividly that I knew it was God who put it there! I don't know about you, but I believe that God has a wonderful sense of humor!! This "image" was so funny, that I started laughing. Mind you, it was 8:00 a.m. and I was still in bed, but the more I thought about this image, the funnier it got—and the more I laughed! My dogs looked at me like I'd lost my mind!
I thought of the analogy of the "potter and the clay" and how we're supposed to let God be the potter and we are the clay so He can mold us and make us into what he intended us to be. Well, I imagined a lump of clay laying on a table and a sculptor standing over it, preparing to create something beautiful. Suddenly, the clay jumps up and starts shouting, "No! No! Don't touch me! I don't want you to work on me!"
The sculptor, surprised, starts trying to grab onto the clay, but the clay starts jumping around and dodging the sculptor so that the sculptor can't get a hold of the clay! The sculptor starts feeling really frustrated and says, "Would you please hold still? I want to create something beautiful out of you! Don't you realize that right now you're just a lump of clay?"
The clay—still resisting—responds, "But I'm too scared! How do I know what you'll turn me into? I don't really like what I am now, but at least it's familiar to me!"
The sculptor coaxes, "If you'll just hold still long enough, I'll show you what I can do for you! I've done this before—I'm an expert at it! I'm sure you'll be quite pleased with my work."
Timidly, the clay stops jumping around and says, "Okay, go ahead. Anything has got to be better than what I am now!"
The sculptor begins his work. The first thing he must do is pound the clay for a while to make it pliable so he can work with it. This is incredibly painful to the clay, but it is necessary. The clay immediately gets angry and says, "Wait a minute! You didn't tell me it would hurt this much! I'm not so sure about this. How do I know I can trust you? How do I know you're not just trying to hurt me?"
Calmly, the sculptor responds, "Just be still and trust that I know what I'm doing."
The clay settles back down, and the sculptor continues his work. This goes on for quite a while. The sculptor must work out all the "kinks" and takes his time to make sure the clay becomes a beautiful creation. (Oh, by the way, the sculptor already has in mind what he wants the clay to look like as a finished product!)
Finally, all the work has paid off. The sculptor stands back and looks with pride on his creation. The clay, now a beautiful piece of work, is so happy with the results, that it wonders why it ever doubted. Why had it resisted for so long?
So many times in my life I've wanted to surrender to God, but just when He started to "work" in my life, I rebelled, got scared, and resisted. I filled my life with so much "busy"-ness that God couldn't reach me! I ran around from this place to that and avoided stillness and quiet at all costs!
Well, I finally was forced to slow down. Back in the fall of 1989 I came down with a mysterious illness that was first diagnosed as "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" and later diagnosed as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and Fibromyalgia. (We now know this was actually chronic Lyme Disease.) It was like having the flu, combined with dizziness and such total exhaustion that at times I couldn't even hold up my Bible to read—I was just too weak. Any activity I did—even showering or brushing my teeth—zapped me of several hours' worth of energy. My life has been totally and dramatically altered ever since.
It has taken me many years of having this illness and rebelling and kicking and screaming about it to finally reach the point of acceptance. Now I'm actually grateful for it, because it has forced me to be still and see what's really important in life. I have finally been able to experience a deep, inner peace, that I know can only come from a personal relationship with God. I now know what it means to "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). God had to take drastic measures with me to get me to this point! It has been painful and devastating at times, but it has been worth it!
Living with any chronic illness can really change one's perspective on life. No one seemed to know how long this illness would last. Some people recover after 1-3 years, others still have it after 10 years. This was also frustrating to me for a long time. I wanted to know how long it would last! I wanted to be in charge! I couldn't stand not being able to control this! But now it gives me great peace and calmness to realize that God knows how long it will last.
After finding this acceptance about my illness, God led me to learn about the toxicity of chemicals in our environment, and we made many changes in our lifestyle which have helped my immune system to recover somewhat (for details see our "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity" section) and slowly but surely, He is healing me. I now know that the chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia are actually SYMPTOMS of the real enemy—the Lyme Disease! Knowing the real enemy is essential for knowing how to fight the battle! This is also true in life. Our real enemy is not the circumstance or people around us (the "symptoms)—but rather it is Satan whose entire goal is to "steal, kill, and destroy" us (John 10:10)!
I believe God is leading me to recovery in His own time table. It no longer matters to me what the future holds—I know that God is "re-creating" me into what He intended for me to be all along! And, like the clay in my story—though it hurts a lot at times—I'm sure I'll be happy with the finished product!