From Suffering to Glory

Potter and clay

The Hands of the Potter


Everyone experiences moments of anxiety when we wonder if Christ is going to meet some particular need in our lives.

God sometimes permits trials in our lives to mature, conform and develop us into the image of God.

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

So, if you are under some sort of pressure right now visualize the skillful hands of the Divine Potter. Nothing is impossible with God. He loves us.

Everywhere there is evidence of a great God. Look at the beautiful world God created out of nothing. Look at the stars, moon and the sun. The individual means more to God than all of these. Jesus tells us . . .

Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

A woman, severely injured in an accident, lay in bed knowing she would never walk again. Darkness and doubt came over her and she gave in to self-pity, questioning why God would allow such a life-altering experience. Looking out the window she saw a small flock of birds fluttering around the bird feeder. They were singing and jumping around without a care in the world.

And the woman’s thoughts went to the words of Jesus:

Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33
29Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.

Here we are reminded of God’s providential care for His children. Those words of Christ banished the woman’s gloom and she was again able to trust the Lord.

It is important that we encourage someone today and every day as the opportunity is presented. It’s not that we don’t have opportunities, but that we let them slip through our fingers.

FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

Speaking of hands, did you know your hands contains 27 bones. That amounts to about ¼ of the bones in your entire body. And, it has two nerves in each finger as well as 2 tendons and 2 veins. The God who can create something as complex, yet as simple, can be trusted to hold you in the palm of His hands.

We don’t have all the answers, but God has equipped the hand for giving us everything to ensure its smooth functioning.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made! We can learn something by just looking at our hands.

When we walk out to pick up the newspaper off the driveway or out of the paper box, you grasp it with your hand. If you have a dog, he uses his mouth to pick it up. He doesn’t have a thumb or the ability to grasp.

Just think what your life would be like if you didn’t have the ability to grasp – to get a good grip on life!

Not being able to use a coffee cup or a pen or pencil to write with. Lots of people have a strong grip on things of this world. But some people think about having a grip on life itself. The ability to answer life’s deepest questions with satisfying and truthful answers. The ability to live a life of meaning and purpose. To live for something bigger than self.

WORDS OF LIFE

There are several things in the Christian life that are important to helping us get a grip on life. Bible study and prayer to begin with.

Psalm 119:50
This is my comfort in my affliction for Your Word has given me life.

In John 6:68 Peter gives this insight,
“. . . Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

How could anyone claim to have a grip on life without having knowledge of the Book that is life itself?

The Bible is God’s word given to man by God Himself.

2 Peter 1:21
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

And it is ALIVE!

Hebrews 4:12
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The first task of any who would maintain a firm grip on life is to know thoroughly what God has said about life by knowing His Word.

Philippians 4:6-7
6Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

As our world grows increasingly complex, and choices more difficult who could get a grip on life without staying in constant communication with God?

Abraham Lincoln was President in times similar to ours, war, unrest and uncertain future. He said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”

The Bible tells us that every Christian has been made a steward of time, talent and treasure. And through prayer, we seek the Lord’s guidance for exercising that stewardship in our own personal situation. God owns everything including our very life.

Malachi 3:8, 10
8Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
II Corinthians 9:6
But this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

We think about worship. In Romans 1, the Apostle described a class of people that had definitely lost their grip on life.

Romans 1:25
. . . . that the people were worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used or using anything that is meant to be worshiped. God, cars, homes, position, power; sometimes we get it 180 degrees, completely out of place. Let’s be sure we’re on the straight and narrow way!

This Personal Evangelism – the church as a whole is to take the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth. It’s hard not to stay excited about something you are constantly recommending and giving away to other people. We are Christians today because somebody cared. Now, it’s our turn.

MISSIONS

You do participate in world missions. We must see the world through God’s eyes. Lost and needing a Savior.

Matthew 9:36
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

People with a good grip on life see God as the source of wisdom and knowledge. Only a foolish person would fail to fear The Lord and risk letting life slip through their fingers.

We miss our high calling in Jesus Christ. If we fail to do so, God’s Word tells us in . . .

Hebrews 12:11
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

The Bible nowhere tells us that we will walk from the cradle to the grave avoiding problems in the process. Problems are God’s gifts to us; sometimes to make us strong, to put iron into our souls.

Problems promote our maturity. When problems come, problems prove our integrity, our character (if it is genuine) is never altered by circumstances.

COMFORT IN SUFFERING

When we’re going through problems, we sense how dependent we are on The Lord. Problems prepare our hearts for ministry.

Paul wrote in II Corinthians 1:4

Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Suffering makes you reach out to others. Suffering brings about a heart for ministry.

How are ever to reach out to a dark, lonely world that faces all the problems of humanity if we have never walked through those places ourselves? It is important for us to say, “I know how you feel.”

God puts us through problems so that we can learn and grow; to make you His perfect example of Christlikeness.

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan   (Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)

 

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