One thing that never ceases to amaze me is just how perfectly our Father can trade beauty for ashes. Tragic circumstances, pain, disappointment, heartache, loss, grief, financial circumstances, divorce and I could go on and on and on. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Pain seems to be all around me. We all face difficult situations in our lives. We have our own Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego moment. We all walk through some sort of hot furnace. The question is, when we do, how will we handle it? Will we hold on to what we believe? Will we hold our Father’s hand? Will we come out on the other side unscathed? Or will we harbor bitterness and anger towards God for allowing us to be put in these circumstances in the first place.
For those who have been around here a while, you know I lost a child. That was and still is the most defining moment of my life. Please, oh, PLEASE, don’t take this as a “please come pat me on the back” moment when I say this. But let me tell you, I was not about to let this situation defeat me. I knew who brought this on and it was NOT my God. Yes, He allowed it, but no, I don’t believe for a second he was the cause of it. That is a whole other post in itself. We chose as a family to accept whatever God was going to allow. We stood, we prayed for healing, we stood tall on every single word in scripture regarding healing. And to be honest, in the end, we may not have gotten the physical healing, but we did get healing. Elijah got a perfect body and we had our wounds bound up and healed by the ONE who loves us so much. We have a choice. We ALL have a choice.
Several years ago I did a Bible Study with my 12 year old who was then 10. I can’t remember the name of it to be honest but the author gave an extraordinary illustration of how a lady is much like a fine porcelain tea cup. They were using it to teach girls to respect themselves and their bodies, but I couldn’t help but think about how it relates to so much more than that.
This is my Grandmother’s tea cup. It’s beautiful isn’t it?
It hasn’t always been that way. It started out looking like this. A square, ordinary, plain, clump of clay. Talk about beauty for ashes! Did you know that to make a soft-porcelain, actual ashes are made from dry animal bones to form the clay? That is an amazing analogy of how we feel during and after a major trial. I felt like dried up dead bones, no kidding. But then the Father gave LIFE to those bones.
If you were this ball of clay, consider this. The potter has to continually knead the clay to soften it up. I would think that might cause a little pain. I am sure if this potter had big strong muscles the kneading would be just like torcher. And that piece of clay is thinking, “Oh my word, WHAT are you doing to me?! Why are you doing this to me, don’t you love me?” You see where I’m going with this, right? And then the potter must put the clay on the wheel. Oh, the spinning! The burning sensation of the wheel is painful and she is dizzy from going around and around and around and around. “Oh this MUST be the end of this”, the clay is thinking. “I cannot take any more. I am done. Please stop, you are hurting me!” But the clay TRUSTS anyway. The potter gently lifts the clay onto a stand and gets out his brushes. He strokes the clay with beautiful colors of pink and blue and high kerrats of gold. It’s not painful, just uncomfortable. Then the clay sees the potter heating up a furnace that is so hot she can feel the flames from the outside. And the potter opens the door. “NO, NO, NO!! You must be joking, you are NOT going to put me in there!! Are you? Really? Don’t you love me?” And the clay can see the potter from the inside of the furnace, watching and waiting until it’s time to open the door. FINALLY, the door opens and the potter removes the tea cup from the furnace. She is alive, unscathed, she doesn’t smell like smoke and she is STUNNING. The potter sits the tea cup on a very important stand and gives it a mirror. “Oh, I see now, all of this time you were creating me. You were shaping me into something of value, something of worth. You had a purpose for the pain. You had a purpose for me. You were forming me into a usable and desirable thing of beauty and you DO, love me.
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
I say this to myself just as I say this to each of you. I pray that each time we walk through something difficult that we remember the tea cup. I pray that we make the choice to be molded and that our circumstances only make us stronger and draw us closer to the Father. I pray that we have the wisdom and discernment to realize that we are his workmanship. I pray that we stick to the Father like glue, clinging on for dear life as we walk through trials and hard situations so that when we are on the other side we can say, no matter what the outcome, God’s got our back, and he LOVES us. We must settle it in our hearts that He knows what He is doing. He sees the BIG picture.
I love you dear sisters!!