Before the Dance

Messy hands sculpting on a pottery wheel in motionPhoto by Quino Al on Unsplash


A stubborn lump of clay in the hands of a persistent Potter. A parable

At the wicket gate into the Potter's house, Huldah the Prophetess heard a familiar impulse whisper, "Go inside."

She would have passed by, for the sun was hot and the way to her destination still long.

The Potter, a grisly man with an almond-blossomed hair, busied at his wheel, churning a vessel out of a lump of clay. 

The lump wouldn’t stay still on the wheel. Now and then, it would agitate. And now and then, it would get spoiled in the hands of its maker.

It was a sight worth paying more attention. The prophetess pulled her seat closer, seeking to understand why the workman wouldn’t throw the stubborn, ugly, earthen material out through the window above him.

After another fitful agitation by the lump, Huldah asked the Potter, "Why are you patient with a vessel that doesn’t want to be made whole? Perhaps, the material isn't good?"

With a smile, not the least faint, the Potter said, "I should give up on it, but not so soon. It thinks it’s ready and should join the finished vessels in the shop. It wants to get over the process. But that can't be."


Several months later, the woman of God passed that way again and went in to give the Potter her salutations.

The routine had not changed. There he was, at his wheel, working on a lump of clay.

A beautiful vessel next to the wheel, danced with all its strength, resulting in a blend in the rainbow colors around its rim.

With a gaping mouth, Huldah watched it. "I didn’t know your vessels danced."

For a moment, the Potter gave the enraptured vessel his attention. Then turning to the prophetess, he said, “They do. Once they come out so beautiful’.

"But why is it not on the shelf in the shop?"

"Ah! You won't believe this. It has begged to stay a little longer at the workshop so it could tell the other vessels to stay still on the wheel and be made faster by the gentle hand of the Potter. You remember it, don’t you?"

Another speechless instant. The prophetess gathered the hem of her long gown together. "You don't mean. Is this the same lump of clay I saw you working on the last time?" She guessed it wasn't.

The Potter only laughed. The case of the vessel was not isolated.

Leaving the Potter's house, Huldah proclaimed in the streets:

"The refiner knows when the silver should leave the crucible.

The goldsmith knows when it's time to smother the furnace.

A vessel fit and ready for the Master's use must be molded

Not by haste or delay, but by the master's standard.

Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Author's notes

In following God, and trying to walk in obedience as much as I know, especially in the last five years, often I've felt and acted like the lump of clay in this parable, the stubborn part. Refusing to stay on the wheel to be molded and made fit and ready for the Master's use.

Is that you, too?

For every one of us, God has a plan. A purpose.

 He creates a dream in our hearts. But like Joseph, the distance between the dream and actualization is blissfully unclear to us. Many times, we're not permitted to know how to leave from point A to Z. We're given a little light, just enough to move us from point A to B.

In our ignorance, we get excited with the final picture our spiritual mind's eye has captured. And we tell others about it, hoping to receive some admiration and approval.

Then here comes the wheel. To fashion us to fit our purpose.

Ugh. It's painful. We resent the process. We believe we're up to the task without the preparation. God must underestimate us, huh? Did every vessel in the shop go through this grueling grilling?

The Potter seems strict and…wicked. We can't stand it anymore.

We jump off the wheel. And fall flat on our faces.Disillusioned.Discouraged.And Despairing.

But the Potter is kind and patient. He knows our frame. He picks us up and continues with the wheeling.


Dear friend, if you're going through incomprehensible situations, I want to encourage you to have faith in God's wisdom. He knows what He's doing when He works on you. The pain is for a purpose.

You can't microwave the process, but you can cause its delay.


You say you can't stand it any longer? You only make the process more painful. You only make yourself vulnerable to alternatives that take you out of God's will for you.

Stay on the wheel

Stay on the wheel


Janet is a Christian with a knack for writing. While it helps her to unclutter her mind, she also uses the talent to encourage the pursuit of intimacy with God and a purpose-driven life.

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