“Delight thyself also in the LORD and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). When the LORD works in our lives, he does so through personal involvement. You could say that he gets his hands on us and begins to mold and shape us as the potter does his clay (Jeremiah 18:1-6). The best condition for us to be in when this begins to happen is soft and pliable, capable of transformation.
The Hebrew word that is translated as give in this verse, nathan can also mean to make or do. “Nathan represents the action by which something is set going or actuated” (5414). It is like the potter’s wheel that spins around and allows the potter to use friction as a force to move the clay through his fingers so that it can be reshaped according to his design.
The difficult thing about being on the potter’s wheel is that it sometimes feels like our lives are spinning out of control and the friction that is generated when the potter puts his hands on us is painful. We are expected to feel secure in the potter’s hands, but we cannot see what his is doing and are unsure if we will like the end result.
“Thou which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side” (Psalm 71:20-21). The word translated quicken, chayah means to live or cause to revive (2421). In the process of transformation, there is usually a point where it feels like or appears to others as if we are going to die. When a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly, it goes into a chrysalis that is similar to a casket or grave. It isn’t until the butterfly emerges that you can see what has taken place and know that the caterpillar no longer exists.
“Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law, that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity” (Psalm 94:12-13). To chasten someone means that you discipline him or give him instructions in order to bring about a change in behavior (3256). Although no one knows for certain what happens during metamorphosis, the stillness or idleness of the caterpillar enables it to undergo rapid change. When it emerges from its chrysalis, the butterfly is immediately able to fly and knows how to nourish itself.
In the parable of the potter and the clay, it says, “the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter” (Jeremiah 18:4). The vessel was ruined while the potter was working on it. Some people might conclude that the potter was working with a bad piece of clay or that the potter made a mistake by creating it in the first place. In my opinion, the vessel was meant to be transformed from the start.
The clay that the potter was using was a type that was capable of metamorphosis or transformation. When a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, its DNA does not change. It was meant to be a butterfly from birth. I believe the desire of our heart indicates whether or not we are in the form we are meant to be. Like the process of metamorphosis, we are still waiting for the potter’s hands to be on us. His personal involvement is what makes it possible for the clay to be transformed.