Two verses are working together in my mind to create a powerful image, an image expressing my longing for restoration and for God to make something beautiful of my life.
The first comes from Isaiah: “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,” Isaiah 64:8.
And the second comes from First Peter: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10.
When I think of a potter’s hands, something like the image above comes to mind. I think of these words: Immersed; Strong; Purposeful; Creative; Careful; Controlled; Present; Patient.
Isaiah says that God the Father is our potter—He’s the Father-Potter of each one of us. This means He’s more than a potter because He did not create us to turn us loose or set us down; in His sustaining power we breathe and move and have being (Acts 17:28).
He is every moment giving us life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25).
If He took away His hands, our life would instantly stop (Psalm 104:29).
He is lovingly and intimately involved in keeping us alive and shaping us into a display of His artistry (Neh 9:6; Eph 2:10).
These thoughts comfort and encourage me as I read the final exhortations from Peter’s first letter printed above. Peter writes to people who are facing suffering: fear, pain, difficulty, loss, or other struggles. I’ve got some of that in my life. How about you? Peter tells us to put ourselves in God’s hands.
He says God’s hands are mighty and that God cares for us.
He says struggles are to be expected because we have an enemy who wants to eat us up, but that we can take heart that our struggles are not unique; God’s people the world over are suffering just like us.
He says God is the God of ALL GRACE. All grace. This means every speck of unmerited goodness in the universe comes out of God’s heart.
He says God has called us, me and you, to be with Him in eternal beauty and goodness in Christ. Suffering doesn’t have the last word.
And He says this mighty, gracious God will reach down—with His own hands—to restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish me and you.
Let’s break down these strong words:
RESTORE: to take something wounded, marred, or broken and renew its wholeness or heal it
CONFIRM: to take something shaken and make it steady through assurance or affirmation
STRENGTHEN: to add power to something weak or fragile
ESTABLISH: to anchor or root something, to make it permanent
I long for this kind of touch from God, that He would be so near and so gracious as to put His hands on me in my suffering, in the muddy mess of my life, and shape me on His potter’s wheel into something beautiful, something strong.
How about you? Would you like to be Restored? Steadied? Made Strong? Rooted?
Let’s spend some time with God the Father-Potter, placing ourselves in His loving Hands, asking Him for what we need, asking Him to patiently shape us into His works of art. Amen.