As an art major in college, I was required to take two semesters of ceramics. So the biblical illustration about the Potter and clay is very real to me. But another illustration I heard speaks powerfully to me about the need to rejoice in all things.
A potter was giving a man a tour of his studio. He explained that most of the time after clay has been formed into bottles, cups, or dishes he sets them aside to dry, then puts them into a kiln and “fires” them at very high heat, to harden the clay. After a set period of time, the kiln is turned off. At some point the visitor noticed the artist placed some particular pots into a kiln but did not set the timer. Curious, he asked, “How will you know when they’re done?” To which the potter replied, “When they sing.” When this particular clay reached a certain temperature, it would emit a whistling sound – it would “sing.” When the potter heard the pots “singing” he’d know the fire had finished it’s work and he’d turn off the kiln.
How often does God have to take us around the mountain one more time because we’ve failed to learn the lesson of rejoicing in all things?
I can imagine angels watching as Jesus takes me through some trial. “How will you know when he’s done?” they ask. And I can hear the Lord answer like the potter, “When he sings.”
We can know God has done an incredible work in our lives when we can worship him in the midst of trials, when our mouth is filled praise though our eyes are filled with tears. How that brings glory to God. It’s easy to praise him when everything’s going great. But when we offer a costly sacrifice of praise while suffering, it shows our confidence in his sovereignty, goodness and wisdom. It brings our Father great pleasure when we sing of his goodness when everything about our situation would call his goodness into question. It brings him deep joy when we sing that he’s in control when our circumstances scream there is no one at the wheel.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Conversely, faith greatly pleases God. And what could please God more than our faith expressed by singing?
I’m not saying that God will end our trials if we start to sing. But worship will lift our eyes from our affliction onto our Savior. Anybody want to be a singing pot?
Photo by Senor Lebowski