Today I would like to share with you a short story my daughter-in-law Joanna sent me yesterday.
There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked, "May we see that? We've never seen anything so beautiful."
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me, pounded, and patted me over and over and I yelled out, "Don't do that. I don't like it! Let me alone!" But he only smiled, and gently said, "Not yet!"
Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. "Stop it! I'm getting dizzy! I'm going to be sick!" I screamed. But the master only nodded and said quietly, " Not yet."
He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, "Not yet."
When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! "Ah, this is much better," I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed paint all over me. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. "Oh, please stop it! Stop!" I cried. He only shook his head and said, "Not yet!"
Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was TWICE as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited and waited, wondering, "What's he going to do to me next?"
An hour later he handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself." And I did. I said, " That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!!!!"
Quietly he spoke, "I want you to remember, then," he said, "I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any colour in your life.
If I hadn't put you back in the second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."
The moral of this story is this: God knows what He is doing for each of us. He is the Potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfil His good, pleasing and perfect will.
So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded, and patted, and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this.
Brew a cup of your favourite tea in your prettiest cup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.