Looking at Lent: Clay in the Potter’s Hand


As a newborn in August of 2010. Kelsey slept peacefully on Grandpa Wolfe’s chest. We saw an infant and thought of all the molding her parents would do in her life. Then we considered others who might also imprint her: teachers, caregivers, friends, relatives, scout leaders, coaches.

However, we knew that she came to earth not as a blank slate, but as a sinner, affected by the garden-sin that killed us all. Although we looked at a newborn and thought “how sweet, how innocent,”  we knew better. Why? We ourselves live with the serpent bite, and no philosopher, no ideology can cure us. Only the Savior who lived sinlessly and then chose to impute His righteousness to His children offers life.

This spring we have come to Hawaii and enjoy watching the smiling 19-month-old. She is, unknowingly, framing my Lenten thoughts this year.

Kelsey can look right at me as I tell her “No” about some actions of hers, and grin while she continues to defy me.

Convicted, I know the pattern of such behavior only too well, for I too look at my Savior and offer the same “No” to Him who made me, redeemed, me and continues to mold me into His image. Humbled, I thank Him; He does not abandon the process of conforming me according to His will, not mine.

Both Isaiah and Jeremiah use the analogy of the potter and the clay. With that in mind, I brought some Play Doh with me and introduced it to Kelsey this afternoon.

I lost count of the number of times Kelsey’s Mom and I said, “No, no, don’t eat it! We don’t eat Play Doh.”  How many times must the Lord tell me I am using things for the wrong purpose?

As fast as Stacey and I constructed, Kelsey destructed. Again, I could not avoid the parallel spiritually.Isaiah writes, “Does the clay say to the potter,”What are you making?”

I laughed when I first saw the effort Kelsey exerted to conform this clay into the image she desired, but I quickly thought that my heavenly Father must have had such thoughts over me in this sanctification process of mine.

Jeremiah forcefully reminded me of the potter’s role with His clay: “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as it seemed best to Him.” Lord, keep me pliable in Your hands rather than hardened clay that always resists the art of its Designer.

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