Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (v. 6)
We waited patiently as instructed, but when the Lord lifted us out of the miry clay (Psalm 40:2), it would have been nice if we had gotten to clean up before being set out on a pottery wheel. But God has big plans for us. “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way.”
While the prophet presents the image of God as an indecisive potter—making this and, after a change of mind, making that—the truth is that God is an artisan able to work with whatever clay is at hand, adapting, repurposing, refining, purifying. Like the potter, God must deal with various impurities embedded in the clay. I’ve got a few of those. “Thou art the potter, I am the clay.”
The Lord once invited Jeremiah down to the potter’s house (which must have been cluttered with cracked pots), but that invitation remains for you and me. What can God make of us? Are we moldable? How cluttered are we with impurities? “Mold me and make me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”
When Evagrius, the fourth-century monk from modern day Turkey, said, “happy are those who think themselves not better than the soil or clay beneath their feet,” he was on to something. And when Adelaide Pollard, the nineteenth-century gospel songwriter from Bloomfield, Iowa, wrote “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” she was on to the same thing: we are clay, waiting to be shaped into a purposeful vessel of God’s making.
As a vessel for God, what can I carry? What can I pour?
God, help me to wait patiently for you as you work with me. Remove my impurities and, through your grace, shape me into what you would have me be. Amen.