As the school year in Australia starts back this month, I’m reminded of my teaching days as well as my university days.
I thought I’d share a special lesson I learned (I’m still learning this!) from those days in uni. When I started my studies I was terrified of the future. I had dreams, and romantic hopes but I didn’t know what to expect or know how to anticipate what was ahead.
I still remember my very first day of class. I had an 8 am class on the third floor of the alumni building. I rushed to be on time that first morning and got to class out of breath and already feeling overwhelmed. My teacher was really nice, but the classwork was a challenge. But that first class is not what I’m here to talk about. My sister and many friends were wonderful encouragers and helped to keep me focused on the Lord for strength. The Lord did some wonderful things in teaching me that I could trust Him.
One lesson I remember from that first year is from Jeremiah’s visit to the potter’s house. It’s an object lesson God used for Jeremiah to understand what He was doing in Israel at that time. I don’t remember if it was from my own readings or a message or what, but I had a light-bulb moment when I felt that the Lord wanted me to be like the malleable lump of clay that Jeremiah mentions in the passage.
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
Picture the lump, it wasn’t forming right. It was misformed. It wasn’t working properly. The potter’s hands crushed it back to a formless lump to begin again. If the shape didn’t come out correctly a second time, it had to be folded back into a shapeless mass to begin again.
I know this passage was in context for the nation of Israel, but I think some of the same lessons apply to our lives. Those first months of “unknown” were scary for me, and I remember realizing that God was still working, and cared for what happened to me. I imagined myself as a lump of clay in the Lord’s hands. God is working in me and through me. He is forming me into the shape of vessel He wants me to become. How am I responding? Am I being stubborn and prideful and refusing to change? Am I trusting Him to be working as He promised? What about the times of waiting, unknown, pain, loss or failure and I don’t understand what He’s doing? Am I living by faith? If I’m not teachable, what does He have to do to teach me to trust?
Sometimes I need that reminder again.
Just this week I was reminded how weak and helpless I am, and how God is working and drawing me to Him, helping me trust. I can’t say I passed the test all that well. I still struggled in the moments of unknown. I’m thankful for the outcome though. The Lord has blessed and I’m very thankful for His working in my life. He isn’t finished with me yet.
What about you? Are you ready to let the Lord form you into the vessel He wants you to become?