Yet you, LORD, are our Father
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand. — Isaiah 64:8
There was once a man who went to his rabbi with a complaint: “Rabbi, it says in the Bible: ‘See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse (Deuteronomy 11:26).’ All I see in my life are curses. Where are the blessings God promises?”
The rabbi answered with a folktale about a couple who visited England to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Both loved antiques, especially teacups. One day, in a charming little shop, they spotted the most beautiful teacup that they had ever seen. The couple asked the shop owner if they could see the teacup, and he obliged.
As soon as the lady handed the admiring couple the cup, it began to speak. It said, “I wasn’t always so beautiful. I was once red clay. My master rolled and patted me over and over again. I asked him to leave me alone but he only smiled and said, ‘Not yet.’
“Then I was put on the spinning wheel. I was spun around and around. I asked my master to stop. I told him I wanted to get off. But my master only said, ‘Not yet.’ Next I was placed in a hot oven. I never felt such heat. I couldn’t understand why my master wanted to burn me. I knocked on the door screaming that I wanted to come out, but I could see me master mouth: ‘Not yet.’
“Finally, he opened the door and placed me on a shelf, but then he brushed me and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible and I thought I would choke. I asked my master to stop, but he said, ‘Not yet.’ Then he put me back in the oven, only this time it was even hotter. I thought I wouldn't survive it.
“Just when I had nearly given up hope, my master took me out. Later on, he showed me a mirror and I looked like this. Then my master explained: ‘If I wouldn’t have rolled you, you would have dried up. If I would have stopped spinning you, you would have fallen. If I hadn’t placed you in the oven, you would have cracked. If I wouldn’t have painted you, you wouldn’t have hardened or had color in your life. If I hadn’t put you back in the oven, you wouldn’t be durable.”
Sometimes, what seems like hardships in our lives are the greatest blessings — we only need to change our perspective. In Isaiah we read: “We are the clay, you are the potter.” God is our potter, shaping and making us the finest we can be. Let’s rest easy and be blessed knowing we are in the finest hands.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President