There was a couple who took a trip to England, to shop in a beautiful antique store. They were celebrating their 25Th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, especially tea cups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked, "May we see that? We have never seen a cup quite so beautiful." As the lady handed them the cup, the little cup spoke, "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, pounded and padded me over and over. 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 I spun around and around. 'Stop it! I am getting dizzy. I'm going to be sick', I screamed.
But the master only smiled and gently said, "Not yet."
"He spun me, poked and prodded me and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled, knocked, and pounded at the door. 'Help, get me out of here!' I could see him thru the opening 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 one more minute, he opened the door. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'Ah....this is much better,' I thought. After I cooled, he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. "Oh please stop it!" I cried.
He only shook his head and said, "Not yet."
Then suddenly he put me back into the oven. It was not like the first one. This one was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I was convinced that 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 and waited...and waited.
An hour later, he handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself." As I did, I said 'That's not me. It couldn't be me. It is beautiful. I am beautiful.'
Quietly he spoke, "I want you to remember then, I know it hurt to be rolled, pounded, and padded, but had I just left you alone, you would have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was disagreeable and hot in the oven, but I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you would not have survived for long because the hardness would have not 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 the clay. He will mold us and make us and expose us to just enough pressure of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good and perfect will.
So when life seems hard and you are being pounded, patted, and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in the fiery furnace of trials; when life "stinks", try this: Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story and then have a little talk with the Potter.