The Potter lights a fire and so it burns, Till one thousand nine hundred degrees it turns.
The temperature is hot, but it is the only way, It shall not destroy but rather transform simple clay.
The future outcome of the work never leaves the Potter’s sight, And so, He continually feeds the flames even through the night.
Though the process to us seems long and slow, He knows glaze will turn to glass and vessels will glow.
And what emerges from the fire will be what once only the Potter could see, A beautiful, finished work of art in actuality.
Did you know?
Pottery often has to go through some sort of extreme heat or fire for it to actually be usable. In the case of simple redware pottery, the pieces are heated to about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. In the days before modern electric kilns, this meant constant monitoring and feeding of the kiln fire for 24-48 hours. Talk about dedication! Sometimes circumstances in life hurt. Sometimes circumstances are just downright hard. Yet God remains through it all. He stays even in the darkest part of the night. He gives peace and strength to endure. He uses these circumstances to make us grow. He uses all things for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes life feels like going through a fire, but God sees us to the end. Thanks be to God.
How many steps did I take today? I do not know, I cannot say. Yet He knew each one before a single one was done, And though I planned, He established each one.
How many times was I caught up in the worldly fray? I do not know, I cannot say. Yet when all my cares have taken their toll, His consolation cheers and restores my soul.
How many tears have I cried in dismay? I do not know, I cannot say. Yet as surely as He knows the number of hairs on my head, He has seen every sorrow and the tears that I’ve shed.
How many times did I wander beyond the narrow way? I do not know, I cannot say. Yet in the wilderness I created, He never did forsake, And He has led me back for His name’s sake.
How many circumstances have I still found Him my mainstay? I may not know the number, but this I can say: Through every unsure step, through every trip, every fall, He has been faithful and with me through it all.
Lord, some days it feels like you’re so far away, And on those days, I am overcome with doubt and dismay. Does Your perfect love really cast out fear? Did I misunderstand the promise that You would stay near?
You said “I am with you” and I took You at Your word, Even though many voices say those words are absurd. I believe, Lord, but help my unbelief too! It is so easy to look at the waves around instead of You.
Troubles without number surround me now and I cannot see, I am weary and my heart faints and fails within me. The darkness is closing in, but I know I cannot hide from Your sight, So here I am again, calling for Your help tonight.
Even in my distress, I know where my help comes from, Though I do not understand all the ways it can come. My faith feels weak but by His mercy I still seek, And so He draws near and in grace chooses to speak:
“I am with you in the valley, the mountain top, and the distance between, In the joy, in the pain, and in the mundane routine. I know you, I see you, and I will not leave, You need only be still and still believe.
Even in the darkness, when everything is far from alright, Do you see how the shadows prove that there is light? So too, My love remains present and true, Even when you struggle to keep it in view.
I am with you even in moments of deep doubt, Standing on the water, reaching my hand out. When you are weak, I will remain strong, And when you cannot walk, I will carry you along.
Your fears may be fierce, but they do not get the final word, My love will cast them out just like you have heard. By My grace, dear one, you are reconciled, And nothing can separate you now, oh weary child!
In these waters, I am with you so you can stand! Even though you cannot now understand. You are mine, and mine you’ll always be, Seek me now, even when you cannot see.”
Have you been wandering? Do you feel you’ve lost your way? Does the night seem to overcome the brightness of the day? Are you afraid that you’re too far gone yet still sinking deeper? Does your mind sometimes fantasize about meeting the grim reaper?
Take heart, oh weary prodigal soul, I know that place. And I also know that you are not a hopeless case. You may have wandered and squandered all on your own, But you need not now starve in the desert alone.
I don’t know what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, But I do know that none of those things disqualify you. No brokenness is beyond His ability to restore, And where sin abounds, grace still abounds more!
While we were enemies, Christ died so we could be reconciled, And the Father is not ashamed to call a prodigal His child. He is running with arms to rescue and embrace, To bestow on you a celebration of amazing grace!
How do I know that these words are true? Well, I’ve been the running prodigal more times than a few. Yet, He has been faithful to me through all my years, And He has called me back, delivering me from all my fears.
I speak these words today because of His grace alone, And I do not speak them by any strength of my own. God is faithful, steadfast, patient, generous, and true; And His grace is for people like me and like you.
What is home, but a cover from the weather, A place where people can gather safely together, A place where a table is set with today’s daily bread, A place to nightly lay one’s head?
Surely there is more to ‘home’ than these physical necessities, For there are other places to find such basic amenities.
What is home, then, but a refuge to run to, A place of security when all is askew, A place with peace and comfort confined inside, A place where loved ones are at one’s side?
Still, these words describe only an idealized view, And no place here fits that definition all the way through.
What is home, but a place to belong, A place where we don’t need to pretend we are strong, A place one knows and is known as well, A place where the heart can openly dwell?
We’re getting closer, but even with all these answers combined, There is something more to “home” left undefined!
Perhaps, when we feel most at home then, we are experiencing a preview, Of something more than any place we have ever been to. And maybe what we desire in our dwellings here is a reflection in the mirror, While all our striving is an attempt to make the image clearer.
What if ‘home’ is not something we build but something drawing near? Now the definition is growing increasingly clear!
For, no matter how secure we feel in what we call our abode, We are still just sojourners out on the narrow road. ‘Home’ cannot be confined to words, time, or space, But so I’ve learned, only in the arms of our Creator’s embrace!
We are strangers here, living in a foreign land, Building tents for our days that He long ago planned.
What is home, but all the ways described before, And more than we have ever imagined or hoped for? Oh, how I long for it, though I’ve never seen it on my own! What is home, where is home, who is home, but God alone?
My dad passed away fairly suddenly on Valentine’s Day. I wrote these words a few days after, in a state of shock, haze, and grief. May this be a reminder of the fragility of life and of a hope that stands even when life is hard.
In the rapid falling of dominos in motion, A whirlwind came and dropped me in the ocean. Days drenched in hope quickly became days of despair, With no sight of familiar shores anywhere.
His mortal shell could take no more of the domino toll, For it was weary from all that cancer gave and stole. Once so strong he quickly grew so weak, And his spirit knew that the situation was bleak.
I’ll never forget those boney limbs and yellow skin, Screaming of the multitude of cancer’s assaults within. Nor will I forget eyes half-open yet seemingly unaware, And arms that kept moving until our embrace found them there.
Twenty-seven years were not enough, no number ever would be, But I didn’t expect to find myself so soon in this uncharted sea. Normal will never return because he is not here, Only days in and that truth is crystal clear.
Today the ocean feels so deep and vast, Though I may see beauty too once time has passed. For I know that the waters will someday turn tranquil, When I look back on memories for which I am thankful.
Planes, trains, and grins that made me smile too, And a special sense of humor that always shone through. The smell of hazelnut coffee reminding me of my childhood, And all the little things he did that made that time good.
Yet even in time, I know the waves will still sometimes churn, For mourning has no timeline and tends to repeat and return. Now and then, I will be tossed to and fro like I am today, For that is grief’s cruel and callous way.
Yet whether now or then, I do not dwell in stormy seas alone, For many others have been tossed into similar oceans of their own. And even though the sea seems too deep to chart, There is One who knows its every single part.
When the waves roar and I find myself flailing about, He walks on water, reaching His hand out. Though the Great High Priest and Lord of lords, He doesn’t hide from the hurting, but instead moves towards.
I need not hide my tears or messy feelings away, For they do not have the power to make Love sway. Jesus Himself knows what it means to weep, And He is present now as I swim in emotions deep.
He gives me relief in ways I would not have asked for, Yet still it comes, in ways I cannot ignore. He loves us both more than I can understand, And in that hope, I now choose to stand.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, And man dwelled in the garden without façade. But sin shattered communion like glass beyond repair, And sorrow became our inherited share.
Yet even on that day when all was made broken, A promise of hope was firmly spoken. For Love would not abandon His creation, And so, He planned a way for salvation.
His promise was passed down through prophets of old, Yet in time, the hope of many grew cold. It seemed as if God were no longer there, And if He was, perhaps He didn’t care.
Yet when God seemed silent and far away, He sent messengers into the world to pave the way. Emmanuel was coming into our mess! Light would shine again in the deep darkness.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among the broken, Fulfilling what God Himself had long ago spoken. But He came in what many deemed a pitiful sight, Not robed in royal splendor nor with weapons to fight.
Indeed, He entered in one of the most vulnerable states! For He came to draw near to those in desperate, dire straits. Grief and affliction were His chosen lot. And He carried our sorrows though we esteemed him not.
By His presence, grace was made known, And by His blood, God’s mercy shown. On Him, our transgressions and iniquity were laid, So our insurmountable debt could be finally paid.
Communion was restored for all who would believe, And a promise was given that He would not leave. Emmanuel, God with us, to the age’s end! Our Savior, brother, and truest friend.
Centuries have passed, yet His promise and presence remain, And He is still with us through every sorrow and pain. God has not left us nor will He go away, Emmanuel who was is still Emmanuel today.