(a three-minute read)
The old saying is that we can never cross the same river twice. The same is true for our encounters with God. No two are alike.
Sometimes when I seek him, I don’t get what I ask for or expect. Sometimes I meet the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can lift me up, or remind me (always gently) where I need improvement. Or he will coach me until I am ready to compete.
Sometimes the Father shows up and overpowers me with His love and dominion. Sometimes Jesus appears, to teach – you guessed it – a word.
Sometimes when I seek God, He doesn’t come at all, in any of His persona. He leaves me alone. But it isn’t a lottery. Like the rest of life, it’s not random. It’s part of a plan. I always get what I need, and He knows what I need before I need it.1
He shapes and molds me into a vessel that can receive more of Him over time. Just as the potter’s lump initially holds nothing, the artist’s hands slowly, patiently, draw it into the shape of a primitive cup.
Then, with more revolutions and more, the cup changes in size. Its walls narrow and it grows taller. There’s no more material now than in the original lump, but it’s given an inside and an outside. It has boundaries. So should I.
God shapes these boundaries in us. If we accept them, our insides grow larger, and we can contain more of Him. If we reject them, we are misshapen, ugly and of little use until we are ready to lay ourselves on the wheel again as an unformed lump.
In eternity, I’m a vessel that can receive all of Him. Here in the world, I have time and space limitations, but He has me grow, steadily, patiently.
In eternity, I’m a learner with the patience and obedience to sit endlessly at His feet. I learn. I worship. I grow. I change shape. I’m filled. In the world, I’m a learner who can be impatient and disobedient, sometimes from wilfulness, more often from the loud and real distractions life presents.
So, I go in circles on the potter’s wheel. No, it’s not that. It’s a carousel. As I circle round, I reach for the brass ring that is Christ.
It’s His music playing as I orbit. It’s His pony I ride, up and down, up and down. Even though I move in a circle, I never quite come back to the same place. Like the water that is never the same river flowing under the bridge, the stream of my life is constantly moving and changing.
From my belly will flow rivers of this living water.2 Christ promised it. I’m just a rock face. It’s the Lord Himself that tumbles out of me to water the plains below.
1. Matthew 7:11 – ‘If you then, being evil, know how to gie good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’
2. John 4:14 – ‘But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.’