I Called It Harsh

potter and clay

The Lord is ever working into me an acceptance of my story.  I’ve kicked against His forming of me . . . well, all my life.  To be honest, I’ve seen the Father’s impressed thumb in my clay mass as harsh and sometimes abusive.  I may not have consciously attributed it to Him, but at my core, He’s the one I’ve assigned fault.  And rightly so—He is the ONE.  He uses what He uses, to make us who He makes us. He is God, after all!

But as I deal with a particular aspect of His forming, I have to confess, I’ve seen it as harsh.  It’s been one of the most painful things in my life.  And I am willing to express it here on this blog because I think my dying has the fruit of Life for similar strugglers.

God has circumstantially set me apart all of my life.  I don’t really want to go into all the ins and outs of this but suffice it to say, I have been capsulated unto Him all my life. Even when I didn’t call Him Lord, He set things up to hide me in sometimes violent ways. And I don’t think this is something peculiar to me. God is jealous and He works things in our lives to make us ever face Him.

But this separating work makes us feel “off” or weird, and I think it’s more common than not.  I’ve often thought that if I didn’t have a steady flow of people interacting with ME, that I was somehow strange. But more likely than not, this is the situation I find myself in.

You see, God wants us to want Him and we ever want something else.  Let me not generalize, maybe not you, but that has certainly been me.  I want to be heard, seen and appreciated—not as great or brilliant, just a person with a life and a voice.  And God has made sure I have been, by Him alone.   Yes, my life’s greatest want of being acknowledged has been thwarted with Supernatural Neglect. It’s been a painful and fiery cloak of invisibility. This has been His lot for me.

My response has been bitterness and pain. Yes, I fostered a bitterroot judgment against friends and family for what God Himself allowed.  Silly I know, but oh-so-human.  Imagine blaming the world for what God Himself has withheld.  He has shelved me in the Potter’s closet for His good purpose. Does that make me feel special? No, it often feels like rejection, and actually rejection has quite frequently pushed me back onto my shelf. Yep, I’ve called His love a prison, and it is.  I’m the Lord’s prisoner, bars or no bars. Actually, we all are captured into the Lord’s idea of us, and if we resist, it is a prison – a solitary confinement in the walls of His thinking.

Ooh, the Sovereign Lord of our life, and I His captured one. I have the choice of responses: bitterness or welcome.  The walls remain unchanged, only my receptivity adjusts the climate: dark and dingy, or free and living.  I do have the power to make it what I will.  Today, I am choosing to see His will as loving and accepting. I can’t say how I will respond tomorrow, but I open myself up to His Today!

Psalm 115:3
Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.

Daniel 4:35
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: “What have you done?”

Romans 9:20
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”


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    • Gaby

      John, your mere courage is a blessing to all of us!
      Your courage to share and your courage to live it!

    • Sam

      This is a liberating post, for you and for others alike.

      It is amazing liberty to see this reality and enter in it. To live it out. We are prisoners, whether we like it or not, and the only liberating Master/Owner is the Lord of Heavens that Nabuchadnezzar came to know so well.

      So, as you well say, let’s choose well who/what our master shall be. The most blessed place is to be a prisoner of Christ, because either way you are a prisoner.

    • Seth Roach

      Thank you John. This gives words to my experience. I am continually struggling with why I struggle to give Him all of me when that is what I want to do or at least I think that is what I want. But when I face the truth I see Him calling me closer, alone with Him and for some reason that is both scary and the place of pure existence.

    • Sharon

      Since I really don’t know what a “bond-servant” really is (not in my generation The Lord chose to place me in) I am wondering if this is what my flesh has been resisting but what He is trying to make this lump of clay into. Because we are willing to yield, there is a choice. However to get to the place of a “choice” as to whether or not we chose the “bond-servants” path, we have to become a “slave” first. A slave was put in that position because they were indebted to another Jew. He has a debt, can’t pay it, so he has to become the brother’s slave. When the debt is paid (6 years to be exact). He can choose to stay because he loved his master and the master would pierce his ear with an awl and put a ring in it and the slave became the bond servant. We too are indebted to our Lord and the tasks He gives us are certainly not easy, “putting to death the deeds of the flesh” have proven to be a challenge to say the least if not almost downright impossible, because I take pleasure in some of these “fleshly” tendencies. The realization of “willing to yield” smacks against the flesh, however, His Love and Long-suffering, along with the burning desire for Him in my heart and soul wins out and I submit to my Master. What your seeing as a “prisoner” I am seeing as a slave close to that 6th year.

    • pearl

      Yes…this rings true to this “pearl”…even after He called me His Pearl! I struggled with the opposites of what a pearl represents…The struggle with my worth and value, with the
      purity of it, and the darkness and loneliness of that existence!
      I fought against the irritation of that grain of sand being formed daily…into His image and likeness!! The Pearl being formed is mostly a hidden process…and like you this journey…has been to somehow get out of this darn oyster shell….
      I see my whole strory and its Hymn…forming from nothing …and in that day we will see the beauty of what He formed through the seperation that felt so much like prison!!! I am very thankful and know psalm 139:14 -18 sooo well…personally!! Bless you for sharing this…brother!!!

        • pearl

          A One liner says it all from the song I posted above…”Only love can take a
          heart captive this way” AND I’m a prisoner and I don’t want to be free, I’m a prisoner of LOVE!! LOVE it!!

    • Irene Respess

      John, I am thinking you are in good company with the likes of Richard Wurmbrand and Madame Guyon. All of you have spoken truth into my life. Be blessed today dear brother in Christ.

    • Ruthann

      Thank you for this blog John! Your comment about how He uses what He uses really hit home. I took a trip down memory lane today all the way back as far as I can remember and truly thanked the Lord for all the horrible things that happened with JOY!!!! Usually I thank Him because it is the ‘right’ thing to do and usually not with any joy. So to have JOY is truly a marvel. ‘He uses what He uses’…I love it!

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