(#2 in continuing excerpts from Ch. 1 "Climbing to my summit" from Leona's book-in-progress)
God, my Potter
God has been the Potter; I have been the clay. He had something specific in mind for this insignificant, chubby little child hiding shyly behind her immigrant grandmother’s apron. God worked on the clay of my life when at times it was still unyielding, or when I tried to squirm out of His hand. Sometimes the clay was broken even while in His hands.
“...I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:3,4).
God gives us second chances and third and fourth chances, whatever it takes for Him to accomplish His purpose through His children in tandem with their free will. It is never too late; the clay is not ruined forever. Many times I have made major mistakes. In my early years, I sniveled about my lot in life, talked back to God, disliked my environment and the people in my life.
“Who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God...Why did you make me like this? Does not the potter have a right over the clay...?” (Romans 9:20) “Yet, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
God, the Master Artist
I was wrong when I tried to push the Master Artist’s brush away when He painted a background I didn’t like on the canvas of my life. I thought He was unfair, that I had been short-changed in my ethnic identity, in the body He gave me, in my heritage, and my apparent lack of abilities and talents. I liked other canvases better and wanted mine to be like them. But God didn’t give up on this pouting, sullen little girl. He was painting an original which He would consider His masterpiece because He planned it from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). There would never be another like me.
The Master Artist’s canvas is nearly complete now. The picture is taking shape as He is putting finishing touches on it. I don’t know how long that will take, but He knows. This I have learned: God is not in a hurry. Radishes take only a couple of weeks to mature. Oak trees take considerably longer.
God waited to put some unexpected finishing touches on my painting late in my life. He still keeps coming up with surprises—more “little happy things,” bright color daubs on my canvas. He alternates with darker colors that I haven't thought were necessary. But after His brush applies them, my painting is enriched. I see that all the colors are important to give dimension and perspective.
Jigsaw puzzle pieces
Because I am a writer and think in visual terms, another metaphor comes to mind as I live on my summit. God gradually gives me more pieces to fit into my life puzzle but doesn't let me see the cover of the box on which is pictured what the assembled pieces should finally look like. As are all of God's people-pictures, my picture is unique. It takes a lifetime to put it together. It is incomplete at any point, even now.
Sometimes it seems as if there are too many dark pieces and they are hard for me to fit in. Where would cancer and widowhood fit in? No experience is wasted in God’s picture. There are many small pieces and some are look-alikes, the trivials and routines of daily life. But if even one piece is missing, the puzzle won't be complete.
Putting together puzzles was one of the traditional fun things we did with our family of four boys. Sometimes our pet dog would find a piece that dropped under the table and chew it up! When children are small, they start with puzzles of only a few large simple pieces. Our family progressed to puzzles of a thousand or more pieces. Now you can buy circular puzzles, 3-D puzzles and other complicated variations. I think my life-puzzle is more like those.
Mine will eventually be complete. “In Him [God] you have been made complete” (Colossians 1:10). “He [God] who began...will complete...” (Philippians 1:6). “I [Jesus] am the Alpha [A] and the Omega [Z], the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13).
I may not see the finished picture until God Himself fits in the final surprising piece and I view it from “the other side of the mountain” in the dimension that is Eternity. I will understand that every piece had its purpose and place. Without a doubt I will see that under God’s control my life did turn out just like the picture on the box that is me.
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome” (Jeremiah 29:11 Amplified).
When I am in the full presence of God, I will see how He answered my grandmother's prayers for her little granddaughter and how her prayers and the prayers of my godly ancestors continued to be effectual as they reached all the way to our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and on through the generations.