When working with polymer clay, sometimes the clay was too hard to work with at first. It wouldn't give under the pressure of my hands. In that case, I would have to take a rolling pin and roll it for a while to soften up the clay until it would begin to accept molding.
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I would work for hours sometimes to make one small thing. Once I made a teddy bear for one of the nurses at work who loves bears. The little bear, probably only three inches tall, was wearing a lab jacket like the ones we wore at that time. I must have sculpted that bear and then waded him back up again several times, until I got him just right. I would work on one part of his body and then set that aside and begin on the next. As each body part was completed, it went into the oven. You see, this clay had to be fired to a certain temperature to obtain rigidity.
When the clay first came out of the fire, it was too tender to touch. If I moved it then, I would disturb the pattern or mold. But quickly, as it cooled, the mold would become permanent. No amount of pressure could change the shape of that bear into some other animal.
A few dabs of paint, and my little bear was ready to go to his new owner, and she was delighted.
Image by Counteract. via FlickrI was even more delighted with her delight. I had enjoyed every minute of working with my bear, because I knew in the end I would be giving her something she would treasure.
As the Lord works in our lives to transform us into the image of His Son, things go much the same way. He knows the areas of our lives which are still too hard to mold, which resist His will and purpose. Sometimes that means He has to take out a rolling pin -- some type of pressure in our lives, to cause us to turn more to Him, to cause us to be more willing to be molded. He will work on one area after another until finally He is ready to allow us to go into the fire of trials that our clay may become rigid and sure. He knows that our faith and trust in Him will be strengthened for having walked through the furnace with the "fourth man" who is "like unto the Son of God".
The Lord delights in working in our lives that He might "present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. " Ephesians 5:27
So let us humble ourselves as an offering to our Lord, that we would be the clay in His mighty and wise hands. May He shape and mold us as only He knows what is best for us to be. Let us trust Him, the only One who is truly trustworthy, to accomplish that which He has set out to do in and through us.