This is the third part in a series of posts sharing writings that help me accept things that sometimes don’t seem to make sense.
A couple vacationing in Europe went strolling down a little street and saw a quaint little gift shop with a beautiful teacup in the window. The lady collected teacups and she wanted this one for her collection, so she went inside to pick up the teacup, and as the story goes the teacup spoke and said, “I want you to know that I have not always looked like this. It took the process of pain to bring me to this point.
You see, there was a time when I was just clay and the master came and he pounded me and he squeezed me and he kneaded me and I screamed: “STOP THAT”.
But he just smiled and he said, “Not yet.”
Then he took me and put me on the wheel and I went round and round and round and round … and while I was spinning and getting dizzier and dizzier I screamed again and I said, “Please get me off this thing!”
And the master was looking at me and he was smiling, as he said, “Not yet.”
Then he took me and walked toward the oven and he shut the door and turned up the heat and I could see him through the window of the oven and it was getting hotter and hotter and I thought, “He’s going to burn me to death”. And I started pounding on the inside of the oven and I said, “Master, let me out, let me out, let me out”, and I could see that he was smiling as he said, “Not yet”.
Then he opened the door and I was fresh and free and he took me out of the oven and he put me on the table and then he got some paint and a paintbrush, and he started dabbing me and making swirls all over me and I started to gag and I said, “Master, stop it, please, you’re making me gag” and he just smiled as he said, “Not yet.”
Then very gently he picked me up again and he started walking toward the oven and I said, “Master, NO! Not again, pleeeeease.” He opened the oven door and he slipped me inside and he shut the door and this time he turned the heat up twice as hot as before and I thought, “He’s really going to kill me!” and I looked through the window of the oven and I started to pound saying, “Master, Master, please let me … let me out.”
And I could see that he was smiling, but I also noticed a tear trickle down his cheek as I watched him mouth the words, “Not yet!”
Just as I thought I was about to die, the door opened and he reached in ever so gently and took me out, fresh and free and he placed me on a high shelf and said, “There, I have created what I intended. Would you like to see yourself?”
I said, “Yes”, so he handed me a mirror and I looked and I looked again and I said, That’s not me; I’m just a lump of clay.”
And he said, “Yes, that IS you, but it took the process of pain to bring you to this place. “You see, had I not worked you when you were clay, then you would have dried up. If I had not subjected you to the stress of the wheel, you would have crumbled. If I had not put you into the heat of the oven you would have cracked. If I had not painted you there would be no color in your life. But, it was the second fire that gave you the strength to endure. And now you are everything that I intended you to be-from the very beginning.”
And I, the teacup, heard myself saying, “Master, forgive me. I did not trust you. I did not know you had a glorious future and a hope for me. I was too shortsighted, but I want to thank you. I want to thank you for suffering. I want to thank you for the process of pain. Here I am! I give you myself-fill me, pour from me, use me as you see fit. I want to be a vessel that brings you glory within my life.”
The moral of this story is this:
God knows what He’s doing in each of us. He is the potter and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.
So when life seems hard and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control, when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials, when life seems to “stink,” try this: Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”