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Broken but Made Beautiful

By Elfrieda Nikkel

Anne was a special person in my life. I first met her when I asked her to teach clay modeling to our group of campers at a summer Bible camp.  She told me about how she loved her work with clay and how she had just recently purchased a kiln to bake her clay creations.  When I asked her  how she got started in her work of clay modeling she told me her story. 

potter and clayHer son, who was born mentally challenged due to brain damage at birth, had passed away at the age of 15, several months before I met her.  She told me how working with the clay had helped her to get through those difficult days of caring for him during those years.  Her life had been broken through this difficulty but God had made something beautiful out of her brokenness.  While working with the clay God had been at work molding her life and now I was seeing the beauty created by God the master potter.

I was delighted when Anne consented to come several times during the camp session to teach the campers the art of clay modeling.  On her first day she gave each camper a lump of soft gray colored clay and after a few instructions let them mold their little clay vessels.  At the end of the craft session we had an assortment of vases, pots and dishes of various shapes and sizes.  Anne instructed me to put them in a warm, dry place until she would return for the next lesson.  I chose what I thought would be a good place and then in the busyness of my daily schedule forgot about them until the day of her return.

A few hours before the time of her next craft session I checked my collection of clay pots.  To my dismay they were anything but beautiful - almost without exception each one had a crack.   I quickly concluded I had chosen the wrong place to store them, so when she returned I apologized for what, to me, seemed like a disaster zone.  To my surprise, Anne quietly said,  “Oh, that’s okay we can easily repair them”  Then mixing up her clay she began to repair each one.  As she worked she said,  “ You know, this is just the way God works with each one of us.  We too, often find ourselves cracked and broken and God, the master potter, fills the cracks and makes us beautiful.  We are never too broken that he can not repair and fill the broken areas in our life.

In the Bible we read about God sending Jeremiah to visit the potter’s house(Jeremiah 18:1-6).  Jeremiah watches the potter mold a vessel from the soft clay.  As he works the vessel is marred or spoiled so he reworks it and makes something beautiful out of it.  As Jeremiah watches the potter God says that the people of Israel are like clay in his hands that he wants to shape them as he sees best.  In 2 Cor. 4:7 people are also referred to as jars of clay in which God’s glory dwells.

It would seem to me that we are all in the potter’s house being shaped and molded.  God holds us in his hand and molds us through the different experiences in life.  Sometime he makes little changes and other times he fills the cracks and closes them up. Or maybe sometimes the cracks remain so that the glory of his presence within us can shine out through those very cracks for others to see.  The difficulties of life which to us may seem to be unfair and meaningless may well be opportunities for God, the master potter to make us into a vessel of honor and blessing. 

Thinking about how God mends our brokenness, I had to think of Peter in the Bible when he denied Jesus before his crucifixion and said he didn’t even know him.  It says he wept bitterly, when he realized how he had failed the Lord.  He must have felt that his relationship with the Lord was over.  Peter experienced total brokenness.  But then Jesus meets him again at the breakfast on the seashore after his resurrection (John 21).  In his gentle and loving way he calls Peter back and touches his brokenness, giving him a new assignment to feed his sheep.  We know that Peter then became a person of influence  and blessing to the early church as well as to Christians throughout the ages.  God had repaired his brokenness and made him a clay vessel that brought glory to God.  

As we travel the journey of life God gives us the choice to become clay in his hands.  As we invite him into our life he lovingly begins his work of molding us and making us into a vessel of honor and blessing.  We can come with our cracks and brokenness and he will make something beautiful out of our life.  Even when we have made a mess of things, maybe by making wrong choices,  God can repair and bring healing so we will display his glory.  How encouraging to think that with God we are never too spoiled, too cracked, too broken.  With him there is always hope.  With him there is always a another chance.  Will you meet me at the Potter’s House? 

You can meet God right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here's a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Mold me into the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised begin His work of molding and making you into a vessel of honor and blessing.

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you'll experience life to the fullest.

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