“The Joy will Outweigh the Pain,” shared by Dr. Jane Campbell

A Wisconsin high school art teacher, Jill Fortin, made the news a few
days ago. In response to a challenge by her students, Ms. Fortin made a
record-breaking 261 clay pots _in one hour_. This was no small feat.
Considering that these were _NOT_ “pour into a mold” pots, but
“shape on the wheel” pots, she had to work at a furious pace. In the
process, however, she demolished the former Guinness record of 159 pots
in an hour.

But this achievement was not only for personal glory. Ms. Fortin sold
the pots and raised $1,000 for a local food bank.

You know, the Bible speaks of God as a potter and of us as the clay.
Look at Isaiah 64:8: _“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the
clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”_ In other
words, God has us on the potter’s wheel. He’s got us spinning in
circles while He pokes, squeezes and shapes us into a useful vessel.

Yet in contrast to this high school teacher, God does not appear to be
in any hurry. Oh, there’s lots of activity and He’s continually
using circumstances and events – many of them painful – to shape us
into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. But God does not rush from
working on us to working on the next pot. He works on us, and every
other pot, simultaneously. And although our days are filled with getting
spun around and poked, God takes a lifetime to complete his work on us.

Yet, when it comes to all the affliction God must use in the process,
most of us wish God would “get it over with” in a hurry. We’d
rather “coast along” as God moves from us to give His focused
attention to someone else.

But, no, God considers us too important a project to rush His work. He
takes plenty of time and expends tons of energy in His work to transform
us from an ugly lump of clay into an exquisite piece of art.

In his marvelous book, _The Yellow Brick Road_, Father William Bausch
describes the trials, tribulations, and ultimate joy of a lump of clay
by means of a fable. Let me share it with you.

Once upon a time some grandparents were in a little gift shop looking
for something to give to their granddaughter on her birthday. Suddenly,
the grandmother saw a precious teacup. _“Look at this lovely teacup,
Harry. Just the thing!”_ Granddad picked it up, looked at it and said,
_“You’re right. It’s one of the nicest teacups I’ve ever seen.
We must get it.”_

At this point the teacup startled the grandparents by saying: _“Well,
thank you for the compliment, but, you know, I wasn’t always so
beautiful.”_ The shocked grandparents looked at each other and said to
the teacup, _“What do you mean, you weren’t always so beautiful?”_

_“It’s true. Once I was just an ugly, soggy lump of clay. But one
day a man with dirty, wet hands threw me on the wheel and started
turning me around and around till I got so dizzy that I cried, ‘Stop!
Stop!’ but the man with the wet hands said, ‘Not yet.’ Then he
started to poke me and punch me until I hurt all over. ‘Stop! Stop!’
I cried but he said, ‘Not yet.’ Finally he did stop but then he did
something worse. He put me in a furnace and I got hotter and hotter
until I couldn’t stand it any longer and I cried, ‘Stop! Stop!’
but the man said, ‘Not yet.’_

_And finally, when I thought I was going to get burned up, the man took
me out of the furnace. Then, some short lady began to paint me and the
fumes were so bad that they made me sick to my stomach and I cried,
‘Stop! Stop!’ but the lady said, ‘Not yet.’ Finally she did stop
and gave me back to the man again and he put me back in that awful
furnace. I cried out, ‘Stop! Stop!’ but he only said, ‘Not yet.’
Finally he took me out and let me cool. And when I was cool a very
pretty lady put me on a shelf right next to the mirror. And when I
looked into the mirror, I was amazed! I could not believe what I saw. I
was no longer ugly, soggy, and dirty. I was beautiful and firm and
clean. And I cried for joy!”_

The apostle Paul wrote, _“For I consider that the sufferings of this
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be
revealed to us” _(Romans 8:18). Don’t be discouraged when you suffer
trial after trial, when you endure relentless pounding. It will
eventually end. And the joy and glory you experience in heaven will
outweigh all the suffering of this life. That’s God’s promises.

PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, please perfect the good work You began in
me. Help me to faithfully endure the necessary tribulation of this life,
that I may share the glory and joys of heaven. Amen.