I was on a conducted tour of that famous factory founded in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and I was entranced by the beauty of some exquisite designs. Watching 22-carat gold leaf being hand-painted onto plates already glowing with glorious colour, I learned that this finishing touch would be burned onto the china at a great temperature. The beautiful plate had already been to the fire several times, once for each colour that was hand-painted into the design. After every firing the plate was expertly examined, and only if it was still perfect was it sent for the next part of the process. Life lessons began to roar in my brain!
Yahweh sent Jeremiah down to the potter’s house to speak to him [Jeremiah 18:2]; Isaiah cried to Yahweh, “You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter” [Isaiah 64:8]. From earliest times the work of the potter has been an example of how Yahweh works with us. Even the most basic pot needs the fire once; without it the soft, unburnt clay would collapse and go back to its shapeless beginning. In the fire, moisture evaporates and unwanted materials are burnt out, while colour and pattern are burnt in. On my factory tour I noticed that colours became more vibrant after the firing and learned that this had to be factored into the design. I noted that the plates were treated with great care, shielded and protected through each process and I thought of Yahweh’s word, “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned” [Isaiah 43:2].
Firing the plates wasn’t a punishment, it was part of the designer’s plan to bring it to perfection. Do you ever feel that you are being punished when life is difficult? Or wonder why you are going through another time of difficulty or stress? Fiery trials are not punishment! Yahweh works on our lives to burn out unwanted things, to ‘brighten’ our good points, to add His own details to bring His design to perfection. You wouldn’t be ‘going through it’ again, if you hadn’t been perfect last time! Stay close to your Father - ‘you will not be burned’!