No Christian enjoys the process of being broken. And, why should we? The process is uncomfortable, and often includes some pain and humiliation. In Scripture, the prophet Jeremiah describes going to visit a potter’s house, and while there, he observed the potter fashioning a vessel out of clay. However, the Bible tells us this vessel was “spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:4, NASB). As onlookers, I am sure all of us would agree with the potter’s choice to stop this molding process with the spoiled vessel, and, with that still-soft clay, begin the process of reshaping that clay into a new and usable vessel. I mean, why continue shaping a spoiled vessel into something you will not be able to use after it is finished, right?
As onlookers watching the process, it is easier to understand and appreciate the potter’s decision. However, if we were the clay, no doubt it would be more difficult to understand and be grateful for a restart to this long and sometimes uncomfortable process.
In this passage, Jeremiah compares the clay to the people of Israel, and the potter to God. As Christians, we can make the comparison and application to our own lives by seeing ourselves as this clay that is being fashioned in God’s hands. God is molding each of us into vessels He can use, but as the ones being molded, we do not have the luxury of knowing the end result, so when it seems that the process is taking too long or we are being fashioned into a new vessel, we can naturally become confused and frustrated. It is in times like these that we are able to choose to trust that our Master Potter, the Lord God, knows exactly what He is doing, and Christ Jesus is more than able “to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 1:24, KJV). Being broken and reshaped is an important part of this process of being a vessel Christ is able to present with joy. May we have faith to trust our Lord through this process, and grace to learn the lessons He is teaching us along the way.