“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
The Bible uses several words to describe God as the creative and masterful designer He is. Peter refers to him as “Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). In Job and the Psalms, God is mentioned as “Maker” (Job 35:10, Psalm 95:6). Of course, God’s own Son Jesus was by trade a carpenter, the very essence of a craftsman.
But no term better captures the image of a creator than that of a potter. Think about it… a potter starts with clay. If you’ve ever held clay, you know there’s nothing remarkable about it. It’s a lump. Lifeless. Cold and dull.
But then the potter does something quite extraordinary with it. With only his hands and imagination, using water and a wheel, he turns the clay into the vessel of his choosing: a fluted vase, a serving bowl, a water pitcher, a cup, or a statue.
A few things strike me about this imagery.
First, the clay does nothing on its own. It doesn’t wake up one day and decide it will be a bowl and poof! it’s a bowl. It may want to be a bowl, but it will remain a mound of clay until the potter is complete.
We too can do no good things on our own. David says in Psalm 16:2, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’” Apart from our Creator, our Potter, we have and can do no good thing.
Secondly, no two pieces of pottery are perfectly identical. There may be lots of cups, the same size, same shape, even painted the same color, but they’re not exactly the same.
Neither are we and nor should we long to be. Imagine a plate saying to the potter, “I want to be a vase. So pour some water in me and I’ll hold some beautiful flowers.” The water would run everywhere, the flowers would just lay there pitifully, withering even faster. The plate would fail because that wasn’t the potter’s design for it. We are all different, made unique for a reason, a specific purpose.
Fitness journeys begin with optimism, hope, visions of change and opportunity. As well they should. They’re exciting and we will need to remember, draw on, and channel that fervor throughout our journey because that fervor won’t always be there… emotions come and go.
But God, our Creator, our Potter is steadfast… He is unchanging. His strength will always be there for us. And we’ll need it indeed because apart from it, we can do no good thing.
Furthermore, the journey and journey’s destination will be far more fulfilling when we understand that we’re all made differently and have a God-ordained purpose specific to us. So if you’re a plate, don’t envy a vase. And if you’re a vase, don’t boast because there’s plenty the plate can do that you can’t.
And lastly, allow Him to work on you during your journey, not just physically but spiritually and emotionally. Listen for what He’s trying to teach you. If he bends you this way or that way, go with it. Be malleable. As the artist, He has a vision for the shape of your future.
So trust the Potter’s hands.
“Thank you for thinking so much of me, for creating me, for the purposes you have in mind for me. Forgive me when I’m unsatisfied in who you created me to be. Please guide, direct, and sustain me during this fitness journey and beyond because without you, I can do no good thing. Lord, you are not merely creative, you’re The Creator… the Potter. And I love you! Amen.”
You are the potter, I’m the clay.