We watched a video about a master potter who took us through the creative process and likened it to our experience with God as The Master Potter. Now, I have heard that analogy before, and, while listening to his explanation of the various steps of creating a useful vessel, I pretty much just nodded and smiled. It was nice to hear it again, to be reminded that God has to mold us, and sometimes it is painful, but that he has a purpose for our lives if we simply yield to him. I don't mean to make light of that truth. It just wasn't new.
Then at one point in the video the potter is holding a beautiful vase and begins talking about how we usually want to show our best side to the world. He turns the vase around and shows that it has been marred and torn. Huge holes have been ripped into the vase, and it can only be described as ugly. He says we might have this hidden side of us, this broken side that we don't want to show the world. This side which makes us feel unusable.
As I was watching this, I immediately began to predict how the potter was going to turn this around. Hmmm. He could turn the vase into a unique one that holds flowers that stick out from its side. Like God can take bad things that happen to us and work them out for good. Or perhaps he's going to show us how he repairs the holes....like Jesus repairs the brokenness in our own lives.
I could not have been more wrong.
As the potter holds that useless vase, he tells the story of the Prodigal Son, and how when the younger son finally comes to his senses, and returns home, the father sees him from a long way off. The father embraces the son. He holds him tight. He celebrates his return with a party. While the potter is sharing this reunion, he embraces this marred vase...so hard that it begins to collapse. He lovingly folds it inward, completely erasing the previous shape, turning it essentially back into a lump. And he says, "We will start over. We will make this anew."
I was floored.
The potter didn't just make do with the holes in the vase. He didn't patch them up either. He completely remade the vessel. When he was finished, there was nothing about the old vase visible. And in that, I finally understood what Paul meant when he said, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor. 5:17) And again in Colossians 3:9-10, "...since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."
God does not repair us. He does not just take our broken lives and mend them. He creates in us a NEW heart, a new life, a new spirit! We are not simply forgiven. We are transformed and are being remade. And the most comforting part for me is, we are in the hands of a Master who only has the best plans for us!
Now, if I will just remember this, and quit reaching out for that old self that fits so uncomfortably!