Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 6:26-28 (The Message)
There are only so many episodes of wedding shows that one person can stand. One evening this week when I was supposed to be resting, but the medicines made me restless, I put a piece of glass into the kiln for a bowl. I hoped it would be good enough to enter into the county fair. The base was certainly pretty with its blue iridescent circle and three clear hummingbirds doing acrobatics in that Carolina sky. I planned to give it to a certain friend to remind her of her little slice of heaven on a mountainside in Asheville. After the fair, of course. Though I continued to rest, every fifteen minutes (just about the same time as a Netflicked session of “Say Yes to the Dress”) I rose and turned up the kiln. I have a manual controller that requires frequent temperature adjustment; I can’t just leave it and go away like those with an electronic programmable controller can. After an hour or so, I peaked in on the bowl and its beauty took my breath away. A perfect round bowl. Time to turn off the kiln. But wait, maybe it should stay in a minute longer just to make sure it was flat enough on the bottom. I closed the lid and walked away. And got distracted, first by a little project, then, by a phone call. The one minute turned into fifteen. When I remembered the bowl and raced back to the kiln, it was no longer round, large or perfect, but an oddly shaped shrunken version of what it had been. I cried. If my head hadn’t already been hurting, I might have banged it on the wall in frustration. I know some of you will defend the bowl as you do most of my rejects, but if you could have seen how beautiful it was, you would understand my frustration. If I had taken it out the first time I looked, I believe it would have been the Grand Prize winner in the Arts and Crafts section of the county fair. Despite my disappointment, I am coming to an important realization. So many people do not believe in God or they think of Him as “that watchmaker” who set the world in motion and then, turned His back on us. I do not have a kiln that I program and walk away from, coming back the next day to see what turned out. Nor does God. While I might get distracted and let my pieces overheat, God constantly watches and intervenes in my life. And in yours, too. Many times in ways we will never know. He never lets the temperature rise above what’s needed. He knows exactly how long and how hot to let His refining fire get to shape us into the people He wants us to be, I may look like an ugly bowl on the outside, but inside, He is working His perfect way. Someday, I will be beautiful too.