If you've been around me lately, you know that I've been on a Gungor kick, but more specifically the song "This is not the End." I saw them live a couple weeks ago and couldn't help but dance like a crazy when I longed for the promise of these words and utterly rejoiced in them.
We did a Lenten series this year called eLemENTs ( www.cspelements.org ). One of the weeks, we looked at the element, clay. Clay is a cool thing. It's messy and dirty. It's basically dust with some water thrown in. When clay is soft, it is not finished. It is process. It is not final, but vulnerable and moldable.
There are multiple references in Scripture to God being the potter and people being clay. It's a great image. God shaping us. In the times that we feel ruined, smashed, or ugly about our life and story, it's not final. It made me think of being in God's hands differently. The potter isn't always gentle with the clay. Sometimes He smashes it to reshape it into something lovely. What we usually see as a comforting hand to rest in can also be a strong and disciplining hand that is capable of flattening us to start over. He is a great and terrifying presence that longs for and demands beauty. I, the clay, beg to just get there already--struggling to wait in the process of being molded. The vessel won't be finished until complete beauty is achieved. Who knows how it might get there and how many times it may need to be destroy, dried, watered, and built again for it to be finished. God won't settle for less than beauty.
But this is what I know to be true. God is a great potter. A loving potter. A potter that doesn't destroy clay for the sake of it and won't push it harder than it can stand. There will be those days where we feel out of sorts. We wonder what God is doing. "How could He make something beautiful out of the mess that I am?"
Isaiah 45:9 warns us about this. "Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’"
We are clay in His hands. The hands of a good Potter. A potter so good that let His Son be clay and absolutely destroyed Him. There was nothing left. But our God is one who can't end the story that way. A world in His hands can't end that way. He is peace. He is wholeness and beauty. He is completeness and rightness. He is shalom.
That is how I know, on this Holy Saturday, with Jesus in the tomb and the world in the tomb, that we won't stay there. God continues to mold. The clay sealing our tomb begins to move revealing a stream of light.
And in the midst of the broken, the dark, the death that surrounds, our good Potter leans over us with a knowing smile and whispers, "this, my darling, is not the end."