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My Life in His Hands

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"...arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." (Jeremiah 18:2)

What was it that God caused Jeremiah to see and hear? "Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?' says the LORD. 'Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!'" (Jeremiah 18:3-6)

Though the Lord spoke to Israel through Jeremiah, God continues to speak to us today.

"Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'what are you making?'" (Isaiah 45:9)

Have you ever "thrown" clay or watched a potter at his wheel making a pot? From my own personal experience, I discovered my weakness in centering a clump of wet clay with my hands on a spinning potter's wheel, at the same time my feet moving to control the speed of the wheel. My hands needed to be strong enough to hold the clay in place, lest it go off balance and ruin the roundness of the pot in motion. I not only needed strength but steadiness to keep the clay from running off the wheel!

I was blessed to be able to watch the late Sasha Makovkin's skill on a potter's wheel. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church as Evangelist, he presented years of experience as a potter in forming a pot while speaking the word of God at the same time! His words with actions made Scripture come alive!

Sasha and his wife's property in Mendocino, California is situated on hardpan soil. This stunts the growth of trees and shrubs into a natural "pygmy forest." The ash of burnt prunings are mixed in with other chemicals on the pottery to create distinctive colorings when fired in the kiln, making each vessel a unique creation.

"But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?'" (Romans 9:20) Will we ever learn, O man, O woman, to allow the Master Potter, the Creator of the entire universe to have His own say in creating?

We, as God's creatures, are not made with a beginner's hands. Just as a master potter on earth skillfully gives form to a lump of clay for a specific purpose, so God, the Master Potter creates unerringly each creature according to His specifications, in His image, perfect in His plan for each unique individual.

"For You have formed my inward parts; you have covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16)

Since we are the Master Potter's creation, we can trust the hands of the Master Potter in forming us exactly to His specifications, firing us with heat to purify and give us strength, adding a glaze, that colors each one differently. All fit for His purposes! How can we not but rejoice with God in receiving, joining, praising Him in His plans for us! Indeed, we can completely place ourselves into and rest in His hands. He alone makes us dwell in safety. "Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?'" (Isaiah 45:9)


(Sasha Makovkin, at rest with The Master Potter, 2003)

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© Constance Vanides