Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

January 17, 2004

The Potter and the Clay

We have so much, so many, to pray for, sometimes our going before Abba is simply a time of extended pleading. How patient He is with us! We say, "Father, there's Jimmy, Janey and little Jack--I lift them up to you. Jimmy needs a job (close to home, with good benefits and room for advancement), Janey has a nasal infection and a sore back--would you heal her please?--and Jack would truly like to prophesy--please anoint him, okay?" And then we move on to our own particular wants and needs. And of course we assume God will notice and approve that we have saved ourselves for last in our prayers.

I think we can all recognize ourselves in this picture. Well, most of us, anyway. And over time we begin to lose our fervor. It becomes a trial to plead so, morning after morning. We try to drum up the fervor. We chide ourselves for a lack of discipline. We remember the parable of the bold friend, or that of the persistent widow, or we think of the disciples falling asleep while Jesus "pleaded" with His Father at Gethsemane, and we begin to wonder about our own faith. Are we "spiritual" enough? Should we feel guilty about all this and ask God to forgive us? Should we ask Him to restore the fervor of our pleading?

But in these situations God wants to tell us, Be still. Be still and know that I am God. Be still and realize that I know your needs, and the needs of your friends, and I am in control. I've got it covered.

I am not suggesting that there is not a time for persistence. I'm only saying that there is also a time for stillness. For letting God be God. Sometimes our interceding can shade into a list of requirements. And sometimes it can even shade into that which Isaiah spoke of here.

We are the clay, He is the Potter. We are not to draw a picture of the vessel we would have Him mold us into, saying, "Here's the model, God. Make me into a pot like this." No, it is the Potter that in His mercy shows us the picture of the vessel He is making us into--it's a picture of Jesus, and its contained in the Potter's book. And the Potter is saying, "If only you knew how wonderful this is, your only desire would be to cooperate with Me in this molding and shaping. To align your will with Mine. You wouldn't worry about how you felt from moment to moment--you wouldn't be wishing for more of this or that spiritual gift--you would only desire to draw near, and to be moldable. In my book I call this righteousness, and I say, Blessed is the one who hungers and thirst for it. Then your prayers would no longer be frantic pleading masquerading as fervor, but fervent thanks to me, your Lord, your Provider, your Abba.


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