killin it in the kiln

“Yet, O Lord, You are our Father.  We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”   (Isaiah 64:8)

if God is the potter and I am the clay, then I should expect to spend some time in the furnace being “fired” as they say in the ceramics world.  That furnace is called a kiln but it’s a furnace nonetheless, an oven, a fire – anyway you look at it – it’s way hot – after all, “a rose by any other name  . . . ”

it’s hot, it’s uncomfortable for the clay I’m sure  –  but – the clay is changed in the process of the furnace – in the process of being fired the clay is transformed –  it comes out of the kiln, out of the fire, different than when it went in – you can’t spend time in the fire and not be changed.

Actually, that’s why the potter fires the clay, that’s the purpose of the fire, to change the clay, making it closer and closer to the potter’s vision of what it will one day be when he is finished with it.

Potter’s are patient people.  They are people with a vision and they painstakingly, patiently labor to bring their vision to life – to see what they know to be possible become reality.

Romans 2:4 mentions God’s attributes, citing  ”  . . . the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance”

God is patient.  He is the most patient potter of all potters and it’s a good thing because just look what He has to work with!  us, me  . . .  I am so grateful that He doesn’t give up on me.  He continues to work on me, including frequent trips back to the furnace, necessary firings to continue to transform me, little by little, until I have become what He purposed all along that I should be.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”  (Philippians 2:13)

My Heavenly Father, the Master Potter, has a good purpose in mind for me and to that end He patiently, lovingly works on me.  What is that good purpose?  Romans 8:29 gives me a clue, saying

“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

There’s God’s good purpose – to conform me to the likeness of His Son, Jesus.   Now that is one lifelong, laborious, labor of love process on the potter’s part.

Genesis 2:7 says that, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

That word “formed” is so telling.  Our Creator God was a potter from the beginning!  That’s what potters do – they form things with their hands.  God formed us and He’s been actively engaged in some version of formative work in us ever since.  He forms me, then He reforms me again and again, as often as is necessary for Him to continue to conform me to His vision for me.  By His power He performs a miracle, He transforms me into that new and glorious creation that He had planned for me to be all along!

All that conforming requires a lot of transforming and that takes time, patience and a lot of heat – in other words a lot of fire – which translates to a lot of time in the kiln.  And while we are talking about kilns, it bears mentioning here, that kiln fire is no ordinary fire.  Remember Daniels’s three friends, who ended up in the king’s fiery furnace?  (see posts “trial by fire”  or “life in the furnace”)  Well, that was one hot furnace full of fire, but the king ordered it heated up seven times hotter still because he was so angry at their refusal to worship his gold image.

But even magnified seven times over, that furnace would not have come close to what the clay in the kiln is subjected to during the firing process.  Kilns reach temperatures up to two thousand six hundred degrees and generally operate around the two thousand degree mark.

But the potter’s purpose in putting the clay in the kiln is a good one.  The potter is creating something lovely from the lump of clay he holds in his hands.  His intention is to fashion something both beautiful and useful that he can use for his purposes.  And that’s a remarkable thing, important to remember – what the potter creates, he creates for a purpose.  The potter has a purpose in mind before he even begins the process of forming and fashioning his clay into what it will become.

Likewise, I was created for a purpose.  “For we are (I am) God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us (for me) to do.”  (Ephesians 2:10)

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”  (Philippians 2:13)

As the potter, God is doing the work.  As the clay I am being formed and transformed by the work of His hands.  I will always be a work in progress this side of heaven.  but  my Potter is faithful and I can know  . . .

“being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)

I will be complete, He is making me whole and complete even now, even when I am spending time in the kiln (which means time in the fire) I have nothing to fear.  It is all part of His process.  He is sovereign over all of it.

Each time I find myself once again “killing time in the kiln” I can know there is a reason, a purpose for my time in the fire.  Potter’s fire their creations multiple times.  The first firing is just the beginning of the process.  Next a coating of glaze is applied and then it’s back to the kiln again for the object of the potter’s desire.  This firing adds color to the vessel the potter is making, changing it from what it was before.

Then the potter may add another layer of glaze, sending the vessel back to the kiln yet again.  Again the vessel will emerge changed from its time in the fire, with another layer of color now added, enhancing its beauty.  The potter will continue to apply glazes as needed, each one requiring time in the kiln, each one transforming further the vessel the potter is creating.

Each time the vessel spends time in the kiln, something is being added – another layer of glaze and beauty from the potter’s hand.  And at the same time, whatever is not of value is being burned away, leaving only what the potter desires should remain.  Each glazing has a purpose all its own.  Some add a luster of gold or of pearl, but each one accomplishes the purpose for which it was brought to bear on the vessel.  In the Master Potter’s hands there are no mistakes but only “all things working together for good”, even killin time in the kiln.

Certainly today, I can say with Job, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”    (Job 23:10)

sincerely,       Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “killin it in the kiln

  1. The Potter who molds and shapes us is a perfectionist. He will not accept anything less than perfect. That’s why we need Jesus to cleanse us. Grace Day you make me think differently each time I read a post from you.

    Like

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