The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Jeremiah 18: 1-4
As time passes I become more aware of the grace of God, and the patience of God let loose in the world. The context of the scripture above is of course the wayward chosen nation Israel, recipients of God's love and correction. Through exodus and exile, God contended with his chosen people, shepherding them to the promised land of Canaan, but also not abandoning them to Babylon. For Israel there was always the hope of restoration and renewal.
So it is with the extension to a New Testament context also. The church, the people of God are God's building, or a living body, and more, depending on the chosen imagery. Apostle Paul reminds us of the picture of God the potter in asking, 'But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?”' (Rom 9: 20) The New Testament is full of the expectation that God, through Jesus Christ, is always transforming and renewing.
The image of God the potter patiently working with the clay at the wheel can be applied to nations, the church, or the individual. As I pray daily, I sense that God is at work. Sometimes we mess up, as if the whole pot is bent out of shape and will need to be remade. Life seems out of balance. The patience of the potter brings forth grace and beauty, in time. God is faithful.
Eugene Peterson wrote; 'God kneads and presses, pushes and pulls. The creative work starts over again, patiently, skillfully. God doesn't give up.' Amen to that.