July 7, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“God the Potter”

Jeremiah 18:1-6

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

The Japanese have a tradition called kintsugi, in which broken or flawed pottery is pieced back together with gold lacquer. This process began as a simple method of repair—taking plates that had been chipped and teapots that had been shattered, and gluing them back together. But over time, kintsugi became regarded as a desirable aesthetic, a form of art, and even a philosophy. The potters behind these repairs reasoned that the cracks and chips that most would hide as flaws should instead be highlighted as part of the unique history of each bowl, cup, and vase. In essence, kintsugi underscores the beauty to be found in the natural imperfection, brokenness, and restoration of everything. Broken pieces can be put together to create something intricate and whole. This idea translates easily into a metaphor for life in God: He highlights our brokenness, takes the pieces of our self, and restores us into something intricate and whole. It sounds beautiful—putting aside the pain of experiencing the true breaking of the self. And I don’t wish to downplay how impactful this imagery can be for us at times, but no metaphor is completely perfect.

God presents a different picture here. There is still a potter with an imperfect piece of pottery; but instead of putting the broken pieces back together, he forms it into an entirely new pot, “shaping it as seemed best to him” (v.4). The difference is slight, but significant. The old pot is not restored back into the shape of the old pot, but molded into something completely different. Again, this is not to discredit the previous metaphor. Our God is most certainly in the business of healing the sick and restoring the broken, both spiritually and physically. But we often settle for these things and forget that they are just stops alongside the road to complete transformation. We’re content with being a vase that has just been pieced back together into its original form, with some small changes along the way. We ask God for experiences and opportunities that might provide slight, incremental challenge because we’re mostly fine with the way we are; we just need to be a little bit better. We allow conviction to soak in just deep enough to change what we’re comfortable with Him changing.

God’s plan for us is so much more than that—He wants to change us into something that is unrecognizable to the old self. He wants to put our old selves to death so He can make us new. He wants to heal us and restore us, and then transform us. That’s what He wants. Let’s pray that He’d make that what we want as well.

Prayer: Lord, I know that change is difficult, and transformation is impossible without You—help me to lean on You. I know that this process of being broken and formed into something different can be so painful – help me to trust in You. I confess that there’s parts of me that I don’t even want to change—  help me to give those specific things to You. I know the plans You have for me are greater, so let not my will, but Your will be done in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 45-46

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