“And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NLT).
As a widow, a teacher and counselor, the disciplines of silence, solitude, prayer and study are the spiritual foods that nourish me, every day. It is upon the rock of these disciplines that the foundation of my life and my spiritual practice are established, because these are the pathways that I inhabit that lead me into fellowship with my Lord and Savior.
Over the years these disciplines have formed me, and I realize that they are for me, but the re-formation of my mind, heart, soul and spirit does not come from me. God is the Potter and I am the clay. As my relationship with Christ has matured, I have come to understand that, as a lump of clay in the hand of God, every event and experience in my life is being used by him to shape me into the woman of God that he originally intended me to be; for his glory, not my own.
Through his Holy Spirit, Jesus is teaching me how to be the clay. How not to be hard or brittle. How to be soft and pliable in the Master’s hands. He is teaching me that even if the world seems to be spinning out of control, it is the Potter who has command of the wheel, and all that he is asking me to do is trust him.
When my soul is dry, Jesus says, “’Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” ( John 17:37b-39a NIV). He fills me with Living Water, when I come to him with an open heart and empty hands.
I have discovered that when I do not spend time in the presence of Jesus, when I neglect his word, if I am too busy to pray, my spirit becomes faint from hunger. When I am no longer too busy or too distracted and I remember my Savior again, he feeds my spirit with bread from heaven, and my strength is renewed. “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35 NIV).
The world can be a turbulent and frightening place, but the Holy Spirit has taught me, over many years and through the trials of every formative experience, how to be content in all circumstances. The disciplines of silence, solitude, prayer, study and fasting are methods that the Lord supplies so that we may experience the blessing of boldly approaching his Throne of Grace, casting all our cares on him, the Lover of our souls.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength”(Philippians 4:11-13 NIV).