A lump of clay cannot take shape on its own. It can only be moulded and shaped by the potter to create something new and different. The final part of the process that a potter puts the clay through is the furnace. When it goes through this fire, it finally gets set into the shape that the potter intended for it and becomes a thing of beauty and art, capable of being painted or decorated further.
The Bible likens our life to clay in the hands of a potter. None of us generated ourselves, but were brought into this earth involuntarily. However, all of us have a sense within us that this was not utterly meaningless, that there is a purpose to each of our lives. This purpose may just fully bloom if we allow the God who created us and placed us on this earth to also shape and mould us as He sees best.
And this brings us to the greatest similarity that we probably share with clay. Charles Spurgeon once said, “No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of a glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand, and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity.” Very often, it is when we go through furnace-like difficult situations in our life that we are fully set into the shape that God wants us to have. Through the hardships that we face, we remain within the hands of this great potter, and He is not trying to destroy us; He is, in fact, making us robust, moulding us to be bold.