I recently spent a couple of evenings at Clay Cafe in Fredericton. This is a shop where you go, choose a piece of ceramics, paint it and then leave it for them to fire for you. They have all kinds of bisque items from bowls and mugs to huge decorative swan planters. When you plan out your items you have a view of the finished product in your head. As you proceed towards completion, however, you never get a chance to see it as it will turn out.
With ceramics the reason for this is that the paint colours don’t really come out until you have glazed and fired them. On the wall behind the paint jars they have sample tiles showing what the true colours will come out looking like with one, two, or three coats of paint on your item. When I finished with my mug I was making it looked like the picture at the top of my post, but in my mind’s eye the colour was more vivid and it was shiny like it is in the pictures at the bottom of the post.
How often in life are we asked to take this kind of a leap of faith? I think that on some level we make them almost daily. When a baby cries and we respond to its cries by figuring out the problem and dealing with it, we teach the baby to trust that his or her needs will be met and that the world is a good place. When we are sick and the doctor gives us medicine we trust that it will make us feel better. When we are standing at a cross-walk and the walk light comes on, we take it on faith that the drivers will stop to let us walk across. Sometimes our faith is misplaced and we get hit by the car, or don’t get better with the medicine.
People are imperfect. All of us. We can put our faith in people and most of the time they come through for us. When we are let down by someone we may feel hurt or we may blame ourselves for trusting in the first place. The only one who deserves our total faith is God (the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)! Even this is hard to believe sometimes. Who hasn’t been disappointed at some time or other by God’s lack of response, or failure to protect us from negative circumstances?
God’s answers and actions for us are like the paint at Clay Cafe. We can see the results only from our current lenses, before things go through the kiln. What we see now as failures on God’s part, someday we will understand in the beauty of their full meaning. Faith is believing in something we can not see or touch. Even though you can’t see God, can’t see the full response to our situations, we can have faith that the mugs will turn out well.
May God bless us, make His face shine upon us and grant us His peace!