These broken pieces of bisque look pretty pathetic. For whatever reason they did not survive their first firing during the process of becoming beautiful pottery. The first firing is to strengthen the clay. Their glazing, unique colors and design can only be applied after this important step. When touring a Polish pottery factory I remember seeing a huge bin full of broken bisque pieces. Our guide explained that rather than throw them out, they would melt them all down to start again.
When hearing this explanation, I could not help but think of today’s verse. Paul is confident that God will continue His work in the hearts of believers. He has a goal for each of us to grow more and more like His Son. And even though the process is life-long, what He starts, He promises to finish.
Just as pottery needs firing to be strengthened, so our faith is built up by the “fiery trials” we experience (I Peter 4:12). When life heats up with impossible situations or insurmountable obstacles, it becomes clear just where we are weak. With each testing of our faith, we ideally become more confident of His control and goodness.
I wish it were always true that I come through those trials without cracking or breaking. But I certainly cannot say that. Thankfully, my failures do not change the plan or the eventual outcome. I can be confident too that the Lord will use it all and He knows what He is doing with me. One day, I will be like Him! (I John 3:2)
Lord, keep me trusting You, especially in the hard times.