While reading a book this story was told....
A couple once took an anniversary trip to England and were shopping in a shop of beautiful things.
They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, the woman said, "May we see that? It's so beautiful..."
As the lady handed the teacup to them, suddenly it began to speak, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay.
My master took me and rolled me and pounded and me, over and over, and I yelled out, 'Don't do that. I don't like it! Leave me alone!' But he only smiled, and said, 'Not yet...'
Then, WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and spun around and around.
'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy! I'm going to be sick!' I screamed.
But the master only nodded and said quietly, 'Not yet.'
He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then....then he put me in an oven. I had never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. 'Help! Get me out of here!'
I could see him through the glass door and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet!'
When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, he opened he door, carefully took me out, and put me on a shelf, where I began to cool. Oh that felt so good! 'This is much better,' I thought. But, after I cooled off, he picked me up and brushed me and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please! Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only shook his head and said, 'Not yet!'
Then, suddenly, he put me back in the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This over was twice as hot, and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up.
Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled off and waited, wondering, ' What's coming next?'
Then he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did. 'That's not me!' I said. 'That couldn't be me. It's beautiful...I'm beautiful!'
\And then he spoke: 'I knew it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I left you alone, you would have dried up. I know it make you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it was hot and you suffered terribly in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I painted you, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You never would have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long, because your hardness would not have held.
Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."
God is the potter and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may become a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel you're in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink" of awful fumes, try this...
Brew a cup of your favorite tea, in your prettiest tea cup. Then sit down and think of this story and....have a little talk with the Potter.