There was a couple who took a trip to Germany to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially elegant teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup in a cabinet, they asked the owner of the shop, ‘May we see that? We have never seen a cup quite so beautiful.’ As the owner went to remove the cup and give it to the couple, suddenly out of the blue the teacup spoke, ‘You do not understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me out, pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, ‘Do not do that. I do not like it. Let me alone’, but he only smiled and gently said, ‘Not yet.’
Then wham, I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was made to suit himself and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked at the door, ‘Help! Get me out of here’. I could see my master thru the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, ‘Not yet.’ When I thought I could not bear it another minute, the door opened.
He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf-life, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good. ‘Ah, this is much better,’ I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Oh please stop it, stop, I cried’. He only shook his head and said, ‘Not yet.’ Then suddenly he puts me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate and die.
I begged, I screamed, I cried, and was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled down and waited, wondering, ‘What’s he going to do to me next?’ An hour later he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.’ And surely I did. I said, ‘That’s not me, that could not be me. It’s beautiful. I am beautiful.’ Quietly he spoke, ‘I want you to remember. I know it hurts to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you would have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped in the middle, you would have crumbled. I know it hurts and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I had not put you there, you would have cracked.
I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I had not done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any colour in your life. If I had not put you back in that second oven, you would not have survived for long because the hardness would not have held you firmly. Now you are a finished product and this is what I had in mind when I first began with you.’
God knows what he is doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mould us, make us and expose us to just enough pressures of the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece to His perfection. So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded, patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control, you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials and when life seems to ‘stink’ try this, ‘Brew a cup of your favourite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and reflect on this story and then have a little chat with your Potter who knows All.