Shaped By Tension in the Potter's Hands


By Pastor Vinnie Cappetta

"Shaped by Tension in the Potter’s Hands"

Jeremiah 18

The Lord said to Jeremiah: 2 “Go down at once to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working at his wheel. 4 Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit. 5 Then the Lord’s message came to me, 6 “I, the Lord, say: ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ (NET) 

A woman potter summarized not only the making of a pot but her basic belief about life: 

“Both my hands shaped the pot. And, the place where it actually forms is a place of tension between the pressure applied to the outside and the pressure of the hand on the inside. That's the way my life has been. Sadness and death and misfortune and the love of friends and all the things that happened to me that I didn't even choose. All of that influenced my life. But, there are things I believe in about myself, my faith in God and the love of some friends that worked on the insides of me. My life, like this pot, is the result of what happened on the outside and what was going on inside of me. Life, like this pot, comes to be in places of tension. Life comes to be when we learn how to avoid looking for answers and finally learn how to ask questions that will bring us to life.”

There is a tendency in us to want to live tension-free. But, like the woman potter, I believe that this tension is God’s gift to us, and a gift that sometimes will not permit us to escape its presence. I believe that our creative energies are activated by just that kind of upsetting tension. It is in responding to this annoying discomfort that we have the possibility of giving shape to dreams that are at once faithful to who we are and who we can become.  From Growing Strong at Broken Places by Paula Ripple