[This story/picture came to me this morning as I was meditating on Isaiah 29:16.]

A woman had heard of a potter whose pottery was incomparable – every creation was perfect and flawless. His studio was reputed to have the most beautiful display of pottery in the world — a display that was so beautiful, in fact, that it couldn’t be described justly. She had to see it for herself, so she ventured to the town where he was located.

She wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the pieces have no color streaks? Would they be perfectly symmetrical? Would they have no blips? She figured that at the very least, the shelves would be lined with creations that were largely similar in size, shape, and function, though unique in color and decoration. After all, that would be the most aesthetically pleasing.

She opened the creaky door of the studio and stepped inside. She glanced around and froze in disbelief. The potter himself sat behind a bench working on a new creation. He was surrounded by many shelves of creations, but they were all flawed! Some of them looked decent — remarkable color, creative shape, or good symmetry. But none of them were perfect. None of them were even close! They all had noticeable flaws that were evident even to the untrained eye.

As she looked closer, her disbelief grew. Interspersed with the relatively decent pieces were all these bizarre pieces! One pot was missing a handle. Another bowl was ugly and too small to be used for anything. One piece was so distorted it wasn’t even clear what it was supposed to be.

“Can I help you?” the gentle-voiced potter asked, catching the woman with her mouth wide open in shock.

“I heard your pottery was flawless. Incomparable. Perfect. But every piece is ugly, unfinished, or unusable. How can that be?”

“The pieces are not perfect in themselves. I make them perfect,” he responded.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

“Here, come look at this,” he said, with a slight smile breaking across his face.

He picked up the piece he had been working on. It was a large jar, but it had a huge hole in its side. “This is by far the worst piece in the studio,” she thought. The potter began filling up the jar with water, and the woman stood there completely perplexed. “What is he doing? Is he crazy?”

But as the water hit the hole, the woman’s perplexity changed to amazement — the water was not spilling out! The pot just continued to fill up! The potter filled it up all the way to to the top and not a drop had fallen out of the jar, even though there was a huge hole in its side.

The potter looked up with a smile. “See, I make them perfect. If this jar did not have a gaping hole in its side, you would not have seen my power.”

He continued, “All of these pieces are perfect because they display my glory. And isn’t that the purpose of art – to reflect the artist?”

The woman walked out amazed. She realized that what she heard was true. Every ugly, strange, and flawed piece of pottery in his studio was perfect.

He is the Potter, and He is certainly greater than you. You are only the jars he makes! Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”? Isaiah 29:16

I was given a thorn in my flesh… Three times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10