The process my teacher taught us to use was the slab method which was tedious for this teenager: knead the clay, roll it out, measure it, cut each strip, score the strip, moisten the scored area with water, lay one strip on top of the other and finally, smooth out each layer using fingers and tools while sculpting it into what I had envisioned. Towards the end of each class, we were instructed to cover our sculptures with damp paper towels and a plastic bag so the clay would remain soft and malleable the next day. Day after day, I engaged in this labor of creativity until one day the vase was too tall to be stored in the usual locked cabinet, so it was placed in a tall cabinet that did not have doors.
Imagine my shock when I walked into class the next day to find that a “lively” teenager from another class thought it would be amusing to punch the vase and ruin its original shape. As I tearfully looked at my broken sculpture, all I could think about were the countless hours I had spent to create it and how it now felt like a whole lot of wasted time. How could this be salvaged? How could I make the vase I planned? And could I find the kid who did this?? I was angry. I was disappointed. I was embarrassed that this happened to me and that my emotions were getting the better of me.
Do you ever feel as if you are doing the right thing, only to end up feeling broken by your circumstances? Maybe you’re like Job, a righteous person who loves God, a loving spouse, a caring parent, honorable business person and overall, possess a great reputation among those who know you. Then one day, you experience loss, death, illness and ultimately, alienation. You still trust God and refuse to walk away from Him in spite of being told to do by your very own spouse. It seems as if there isn’t an answer in sight and you feel disheartened. You feel sad as you writhe in physical and emotional pain … you feel broken.
I’m so glad the book of Job doesn’t end there. As one continues to follow his life, he humbles himself in the presence of Almighty God and isn’t just restored to the life he once had. Job 42:12 says, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” Wow, what an awesome God we serve!
That brings me back to my broken vase. Though I wanted to give up, my teacher encouraged me that it could be fixed. I calmed down and collected myself. I trusted her and I asked her to help me. With time and patience, she and I worked tirelessly by moistening the broken area, repairing the tear, and sculpting it back to its original figure. Not only were we able to get the vase back to its former glory, it actually looked much better by the time it was all done with braided handles and glazed with a beautiful shade of pink.
I don’t know what you’re walking through, but perhaps you were just laid off from your job, struggling in your marriage, received bad news about your health, lost a loved one, or feel overwhelmed by how to parent your children because they seem to make a series of unwise decisions.
Dear Friend, you may feel broken, but just know that you are not beyond repair when you place your life in the hands of God. Acknowledge that you can’t do it by yourself, ask Him for help, obey what He instructs, and trust His promise: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Not only can God fix your circumstances, He can make them better!