Becoming a believer in Jesus Christ can be earth-shattering on a number of levels. But even then, it is just the beginning. What follows is a long process of being formed, conformed, and transformed. And it takes more than fifteen days, to be sure. But for some of us, it might look something like this.
I am Clay, and life is good. The lights are low, and so are the expectations. I have nowhere to go and nothing to do except to hang out in my cool, comfortable, carved-out cubby. All I need is to be.
This is my world. The only one I know. And I can’t imagine a world any better than this.
Something isn’t right. I feel unsettled. I’m starting to hear rumblings and feel pressure. Not used to that. I keep thinking it will all go away, that soon things will get back to normal. But now, I’m beginning to wonder. In fact, I’m wondering about a lot of things. Like, what if there is something else out there, something I can’t see from here?
Wait. Forget I said that. It’s just paranoia. I need to stay grounded and trust in what I can see and what I can feel. That’s what’s real. Anything else is just – wait, what was that? Whoa. It’s happening again. Rumbling. Crunching. Okay, am I going crazy? I think my walls just moved. Forget paranoia. Something is definitely wrong here.
What am I saying? No, it’s not. Hold on to what I know. Hold on to what I know. There is nothing else. I am Clay. Life is good. I am Clay. Life is good.
Okay, it’s over. See? I knew it was nothing. I’m making more of this whole thing than I need to. No use in cracking up. I just need to relax. It’s all over now.
Or is it?
Crisis! The sky is literally falling! The floor is shaking, and so am I! What is happening? I’m starting to – I don’t know what this is. It’s like I’m – moving! I’ve never moved before. Oh, I’m dizzy. I don’t like this. Who are you? What are you doing to me? Put me back! Put me back right now!
Gasp. What is that? Is that – air? I thought that was just a fairy tale. You mean that stuff is real? How do you, cough, do this? I can’t, what do you call it? Breathe?
And now my eyes. Oh, they’re burning. Those lights are so bright. Where’s the darkness? I can’t see it anymore. I can’t see anything anymore.
I can see everything from here! Look at this place. It’s amazing. I had no idea any of this was real. My eyes don’t burn, and now they actually see things. THINGS! Sun and trees and grass and THINGS! Things are everywhere.
And so is the air. It’s all around me. And it’s not heavy. I had no idea how much pressure I was under all the time. But not anymore. It’s like a huge weight fell off.
I can’t imagine a world any better than this. I am Clay, and life is good.
And I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong. I love the freedom. I love the view. But that’s just it. My view is full of things I don’t understand. Did you know I’m not the only one out here? No joke. We’re everywhere. One day, I just started looking around, like really looking around. And then I noticed them. Other Clays, just like me, all around me. But they’re not just like me. Some of them actually move.
Well, they don’t move. They get moved. Something comes and picks them up. But that’s not all. They also get pressed and pulled and (you won’t believe this) cooked. Yeah, I know. Creepy. The first time that door opened and the heat hit me from across the room I was so glad it was them and not me. Does that sound bad?
At first I thought they just went away after that. Like, just gone. But now I’m not so sure. Check this out. I’m seeing more things, new things sitting around. And these things get picked up all the time. Sometimes they get filled with water. Sometimes they hold food. Sometimes they even hold other Clays, like me. And that’s not all. I noticed that one of those new things looked a little like the Clay that was next to me before.
Do you think it’s possible? Could it be the same Clay? It looked so different, but kind of the same too. How does that happen?
Could that happen to me? I’m a Clay. Could I be a thing that gets used like that other Clay? I have to say that would be better than just sitting here. Why am I still here on this table? Is there something wrong with me? Oh no. I’m corrupted Clay. Why else would I go through all that mess before just to just stay here with no shape and no purpose? Surely there’s another reason. This is so frustrating. The more I know, the more I don’t know.
I’m so – touched. And moved. Is this it? Is it my time? I’m definitely not on the table anymore. Yes. Yes. I’m not corrupted Clay after all. This is what I’ve waited for. I wonder what thing will I be? I have so many great ideas. When do I get to choose? Oh, I can’t wait.
That feels good. Oh, not so hard. Yeah, that’s better. I guess I’m a little stiff from sitting still for so long. Okay, Clay, just relax and settle into the warmth. Things are going to be different from now on. I’m going to be great at this. No more sitting on a table and waiting. I’m going to be the best new thing ever.
Hey! That’s frigid! And wet! Was that necessary? A little warning would have been nice. Brrr. And hang on. You’re making a mess here. Look at me, I’m in pieces. I think we need to just go ahead and clean all this up and let me rest a bit. As exciting as this experience is, I’m feeling a little . . .
Sore! Wow, that’s hard. Okay, that stopped feeling good a long time ago. You can quit whenever you’re ready. Really, I’m not kidding here. That’s, ouch, enough. I think we should – um – I don’t think I can stretch that far. No, I definitely can NOT stretch that far. Too much. Please stop before I – oh, now look at what you’ve done. I’m completely broken! Never mind the water now. I’ve got it coming out my eyes. What have you done? I don’t even look like the same Clay anymore. Is this why you took me from my dark little hole? To rip me to shreds? This is not what I wanted. I wanted to be something. To be useful. But no one can use this mess. Not now. Worst day ever!
Hey, I look good. Nice work. I mean, I know what I said, but that wasn’t doubt as much as it was anxiety. It wasn’t easy. And I’m still wondering if perhaps there was a less painful way. But in the end I have to admit that I see what you did there. (I’m still glad it’s over.) At least I didn’t have to go through that whole cooking thing. Good to know I didn’t need that much work.
But, can you do me just one quick favor? I’m feeling a little weak. Can you just prop me up? Thanks. Listen, I can’t wait to get started. I know it won’t be easy, and I know sometimes things get broken. But if you’ll just show me what to do, I’m ready. More than ready. Just prop me up a little more, right there. Yeah, that’s better. Thanks.
Hey, is it me? Or is it getting hot in here?
Shut that door! No way! I thought we were past this. Is it not enough that I gave up my hole in the ground for you? Are you not happy that I let you pull on me and tug me and rip me apart? Come on. Look at the sacrifices I’ve made. Why is this necessary? I’m a perfectly workable thing. You just have to use me. Go ahead. Give it a shot. I won’t let you down. PLEASE!
Ouch. Hot! Look. Surely there’s some other way. No, wait! I won’t survive this, and you know it! Ahhhh. Really hot! Stop it, please. I’m begging. Is that what you want? You want me to beg? Think of all we’ve been through together. Don’t you care about that? HOOOOTTTTT! Get me out of here. Put me back in the ground. I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. Pleeeeaaasssee, noooooo!!!
Most of the heat has gone away now. But it didn’t happen all at once. And I still smell like smoke.
Wow. Things are busy today. Lots of activity. Not sure what’s going on. But we need to be careful, or someone’s going to break. Another Clay banged against me earlier. Not fun, but luckily I didn’t crack.
So, what’s going on here? All this work must be for something, and I want in. In fact, I don’t even care how anymore. (You may not realize I never got to choose what thing I wanted to be after that whole fiery furnace episode. But that’s okay. I know mistakes happen.) Honestly, I’m not even sure what I could do. I just want to be part. You know?
Water again? I thought we were past – wow. This is different than before. Not over me, but inside me. Filling me. And staying. This is incredible. This is my purpose, to hold this water. There isn’t a part of me that isn’t touched by it. Finally. I am a thing. I love this.
I am Clay, and life is good.
Hey, I know you. I remember your hands from, well, glad we made it through all that. Thanks for the water. I’m digging it. I knew you were up to something. But I never realized it was all about holding this water. I have to say, good call. I could hang on to this water for like, ever. So what’s up? Me? What do you mean I’m up? Um, what are you doing? Whoa, careful. If you tip me too far, you’re going to spill my – WATER. Wait, that’s my water. You’re spilling it. You’re spilling my purpose. I love that water.
Well, would you look at that? When you turn me upside down, I can see more. And I just watched you just pour my water on that Clay on the table. That’s funny, he kind of looks like me before . . .
So I’ve been thinking. When you poured the water over me, were you using the water you put inside some other thing? That’s pretty cool. And one more thing. Did that water make it easier for you to shape me? No? Oh, to make the stretching easier on me. Got it.
More water. Hey, thanks. I was feeling a little dry. But back to those questions. So, the thing you used to dig me up, was that a thing you made too? A thing like, yeah, that one, the one that’s going into the fire right now. Did it use to be a Clay too?
Okay, I have to process this. It’s all starting to come into – whoa – there goes my water again. Another busy today, I guess. It’s almost like the more tools you have, the more Clays you can . . .
Wait. So can I ask one more question? How many Clays are actually buried in the ground? And are they stuck like I was thinking that’s all there is? Yes, I know that’s two questions. But look, what if they don’t know there’s more? We have to tell them what’s up here. They’ve got to know. We’ve got to get them out. Like right now!
Time? For what? Listen, this is serious. It is dark down there. And cold, and heavy, and you’re talking about time? To do what?
Oh, that’s right. The drenching and pulling and pressing and (help me) cooking. So this Clay I’m pouring water on right now, he’s going through that same thing isn’t he? And you’re going to use him too, aren’t you? To dig or hold or pour.
I took time. And so will he.
Good morning. I am ready. Fill me. Tip me over. Let me see all the different things you’re making and all the different ways you’ll use them. Rescue some Clays today, then pour me out over them. Over, and over, and over again.
I am Clay, and life is good.