Reflections (Day 1 from Cleansing Thoughts)
WHILE MY HUSBAND WAS AWAY on a hunting trip, I decided to tackle the dreaded chore of cleaning out the closets. It was getting late, but I just had one to go and was determined to get it finished before calling it a day. As I was sorting out a few things, I came across an old piece of pottery that at the time I could not bring myself to throw away, so I had put it on the back shelf and forgot about it. It wasn't expensive. It wasn't even a keepsake. But when I first saw it many years ago, it took my eye, and even now, to me, it was still beautiful. I didn't care that it was broken and pieces back together again, or that even had some pieces missing. I didn't even mind if it seemed to have no useful purpose anymore. I just liked it. After admiring it for a while, I sat it d. own on the dresser and continued my cleaning. When I finished, I had two piles, one for the Salvation Army and another to be thrown away. As I look around to see if I had forgotten anything, the piece of pottery caught my eye, and once again, I couldn't bring myself to throw it away.
As I started to put it back into the closet, something began to stir deep within me. I sat down on the bed for a minute, or so I thought, and just stared at it. Before I knew it, an hour had passed. My grandmother had taught me to always keep a candle in each room just in case of an emergency, so I took it out of the bedside table and put it into the vase, lit it, and turned out the lights, it was so beautiful as little rays of light began to shine out from all the cracks and missing pieces, casting a soft glow into the room. As I sat there, I lost all sense of time just admiring its unique beauty. And then it happened. The Lord began to speak to my heart.
I began to think about the potter who made it and how to him it was a work of art. I thought about all the people who had passed it by, deeming it of no value. I remember how excited I was when I saw it, and of all the beautiful things in his shop, this was the only piece I wanted. I thought of the many different ways I have used it in my home and how upset I was when it had gotten broken, not once but several times. Each time, the pieces became harder to put back together until finally, it found its way in the back of the closet, sitting on a shelf, just wanting to be used. Then I began to think of my own life and how much it was like this piece of pottery.
I took the Bible off the bedside table and stood near the vase so I could read in the soft glow of the candlelight. As I turned to Jeremiah 18, anticipation began to rise up in my heart. "The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 'Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear my words'" (vs. 2, NKJV). Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter, so he made it again into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "'Oh house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?' says the Lord. 'Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel'" (Jeremiah 18:6, NKJV).
I remember the first time I read this text. I had written my name above the places where "house of Israel" had been to personalize the scripture to me. As I stood there, I read it again and again, only this time, I read it with my name in the places. I sat back down on the bed and once again became lost in my thoughts as I began to see a mental picture of a potter at the wheel forming a raw lump of clay into a vessel fit for the maste's use. Each touch of his hands created something new into the piece, but there were tow things my heart seemed to dweel upon--one was the way he used the water every time he touched it, and the other was the look in his eyes. It was one of great anticipation, excitement, and revelation. I thought of Psalm 139, which states how God knew me while I was fashioned in my mother's womb. I remembered the daydreams I used to have when I carried my son and of the person he would become and knew that was how it must have been for Him. The word says, "How precious also are Your thoughts of me, O God! How great is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:17, NKJV). Yet the clay was married in the dpotter's hand, just as my fige had not gone the way God must have dreamed it would.