Centering clay on a potter’s wheel is a messy and demanding operation, requiring tremendous concentration. Why? Because the clay doesn’t want to be centered! It resists “surrendering” to the potter’s hands. Don’t we all?
I learned pottery during my hippie years one summer when I was trapped in DC, trying to get to the West Coast on my motorcycle, but with never enough money to leave town. I had no idea in those days how terribly resistant I was to the Potter’s Hands. I thought that life was just against me at times, but at other times I lucked out. I never saw the spiritual analogy to the pottery I was learning to make and the work of the Potter I was experiencing. Back then I had no spiritual life with the Lord to compare things to.
To this day I have an indelible memory of my early struggles with clay. There is so much you have to do before turning on the wheel. First you water the clay to soften it, then knead it until it is pliable, then run a wire mesh through it to get the hard, dried lumps out. These would shatter the pot in the kiln when fired, if they were allowed to remain. Can you relate to this? Being watered with the Word, being softened up and made teachable, being dealt with to release those hard places that would backfire on you in your trials. It gets better.
Once readied, you take the prepared lump of “willing” clay and smack in down on the wheel as close to center as you can get it. Then the fun begins. As you turn up the speed of the wheel, the un-centered clay will try to fly off! You have to exercise your will and your skill with both hands to hold that “rebellious” bit of clay firmly on the wheel. Then you exert even more pressure to force it towards center. Extra water may be needed to reduce the friction. What a contest!
At first the clay beat me badly, but soon enough I got the knack for it and discovered the joy of centered clay. The joy of centered clay is twofold:
1) You can take your hands off of it and it spins sweetly and submissively before you, and
2) You can now place your hands upon it tenderly (yet still firmly) and begin raising the clay into the vessel you desire it to become.
Peter advises us to humble ourselves under the Mighty Hand of God so that He can then raise us by grace—since God “resists the proud” (those who are resisting Him). My advice? Don’t try to “get off the wheel” of where God has placed you and how He is dealing with you. Learn to say “uncle” and let Him have His way. Be like putty or better yet, submissive clay, in His Hands. He wants to raise you up!
Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7 NKJV