The Beautiful Teacup's Story

by Jan Silvious

Have you ever been tempted to tell God you've had enough?

I read this little story in a book written by my friend Barbara Johnson, who is the founder of Spatula Ministries. Barbara's book title, Fresh Elastic for Stretched-Out Moms (Revell, 1985), speaks volumes. She knows all about pressure, having faced the tragic death of two sons and the gay lifestyle chosen by a third.

In her book, Barbara has included thoughts and anecdotes to help other moms make it through the tough times. One story she tells is entitled "The Beautiful Teacup."

A couple in England passed a china shop, which had a lovely teacup displayed in the window. They went inside to see it more closely, but suddenly the teacup spoke!

"You can't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over. I screamed for him to stop, to leave me alone. But he continued to mold me, answering, Not yet.'

"Then I was placed on a wheel and spun around and around. It made me dizzy, spinning on and on like that. But he didn't stop when I was begging him to take me off the wheel. He continued shaping and molding-and then he put me in an oven! I have never felt such intense heat! I wondered if he wanted me to bum up. And I screamed and beat on the door to get out. I could see the master through the opening. And I read his lips as he said, Not yet.'

"Finally, the door did open. He put me up on a shelf and I began to cool. That felt better. Then suddenly, he brushed me and painted me all over. The fumes were terrible. I thought I would surely choke to death. I was gasping for air and hurting inside from the heat and choking fumes.

"Soon he put me into another oven. It wasn't like the first one, but it was twice as hot! I knew for sure that this time I would suffocate. I begged my master to stop. All the time I could see him shaking his head and saying, Not yet.'

"I felt there was no help. I knew I could never make it. I was ready to give up. But just then the door opened. He took me out and I could see that he was pleased with his work. He handed me a mirror and told me to look at myself. I did. And I said, That's not me. It couldn't be! I am so shiny and beautiful!'

"Then he said to me, I want you to know that I had to roll and pat you to shape you. If I had left you, then you would have dried up. I know the wheel made you dizzy and sick, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the baking oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed you and then painted you all over, but you see, if I hadn't done that, you would never have hardened. And if I had not put you in the second oven, you would not have survived for very long, because you would have been brittle. Now you are a finished product You are what I had in mind when I first began with you as a lump of clay.'"

Someday we'll be finished, conformed to the image of the Master. In the meantime, let's endure the process with patience.

From The 5-Minute Devotional

©Zondervan I99I

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