It is amazing how a skilled sculptor can take a lump of lifeless ugly clay and form it into something of stunning beauty. Having tried this myself, taking clay into my hands, kneading it like bread dough, throwing it onto a wheel and forming it into a beautiful work of art or even an object of usefulness, I have to admit this particular skill most certainly alludes me. I have no talent when it comes to this form of art.
My sister Brenda Magee, on the other hand, shapes the clay with her hands, imagines what it will become and gently shapes and molds the lifeless clay into a creation of unique, unprecedented beauty. Her creation reflects something deep within her as she works for hours patiently shaping, turning, and smoothing with her hands until all flaws are gone and the clay is molded into something she imagined it to be.
When the clay has been shaped and molded just the way she wants it, she places it in a kiln to fire. The kiln is extremely hot and remains constant for hours. The intense heat from the fire further removes imperfections not seen on the outside. If by chance, there is an imperfection deep within the clay that has not been removed by the molding process, the piece may explode under the pressure of extreme heat thrusting shards of brokenness into the kiln.
On removing the shattered work of art, all hope is not lost. She picks up the shards, gently takes her design and repairs it with a special substance that will make it stronger. Broken piece by broken piece, she carefully and lovingly places the splintered shards back on her design. She then smooths and fills any lines between the pieces that may appear. She works with it until at last it is a stronger and more beatiful work than ever.
So it is with our Divine Designer. We were created by Him with a design in His mind of what we would become. He formed us in such a way that pleases Him. It is with a divine plan and purpose that He created uniquely individual people. Each one of His creations is designed differently for a specific purpose only that creation can fulfill. He created us giving us special characteristics, talents and gifts all for the purpose of bringing glory to His Name.
He continues to shape and mold us throughout our life’s journey, teaching us and perfecting us through life experiences and giving us opportunities for growing in faith. Sometimes He will gently guide us back to the center of His will much like the sculptor will move the clay back to center when it moves to one side lest it become misshapen. And when by stubbornness we refuse to be moved, He will push a little harder.
To further perfect His creation, He will put us through the fire and gradually turn up the heat so we will not break too easily. Our Designer knows exactly how much heat to apply to our vessel to help us withstand life and make us stronger. The higher the heat, the more durable we become. And if we break, He holds us, nurtures us, forgives us, and lovingly puts us back together with a very special substance only He can provide: grace. Grace to make us stronger and more resilient. Grace to remind us we are the creation, not the Creator. Grace that only the Father can give because of the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.
And when we accept Jesus as our Savior, God fills our vessel with His Holy Spirit. The result: a work of true beauty formed into the image of Jesus Christ.