Our first story tells about a preacher who was flying home from a business trip on a flight which evoked a great amount of fear in him and, at the same time, was one of the most thought-provoking experiences of his life.
The flight was a long one and the first signs of approaching problems came when the "fasten seat belts" light came on. In a few moments a calm voice announced, "We will not be serving beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please make sure your seat belt is fastened."
Looking around at his fellow travelers he could see that they were becoming apprehensive, especially when the voice made the announcement, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us." It was right after this that the storm broke. Loud cracks of thunder could be heard above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the sky and seemed like the huge plane was being tossed through the sky like a cork on the ocean. One moment the plane would soar upward on some great draft of air and then plummet down like it was going to crash.
The preacher confessed later that he was frightened and very discomforted by the storm and it's effect on the airplane. As he looked at the other passengers he could see that they were as upset and alarmed as he was. Some were even praying. Things were beginning to look very ominous and he began to wonder if they'd make it.
And then, he suddenly noticed a little girl sitting nearby that was seemingly unaffected by the effects of the storm. She was sitting with her feet tucked up under her and calmly reading a book. Everything about her little world seemed to be in order and she showed no evidence of fear or concern. While the plane was being buffeted and bounced around, when the adults around her were scared half to death, she was completely composed and unafraid. The preacher could hardly believe his eyes.
The plane did continue on and finally the storm subsided and they made it safely to their destination. After they landed he commented to the little girl about the storm and the effects it had on the plane and then he asked her why she had not been afraid. She simply said, "Sir, my Dad is the pilot, and he's taking me home."
Our second story requires you to use your imagination just a little and picture a beautiful, exquisitely made tea cup that can talk. This tea cup teaches a great Biblical lesson. It was purchased in an antique shop by an old couple and as they were holding it and commenting on its beauty, it suddenly began to speak to them.
The tea cup said, "You don't understand. I haven't always been a tea cup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me, pounded and patted me over and over, and I yelled out, Don't do that. I don't 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 spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick!', I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly; 'Not yet.' He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then....."
He put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded on the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet.' When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, he opened the door. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf 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 it!' I cried. He only shook his head and said, 'Not yet!"
Then suddenly he put me back in the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I 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 and waited - and waited, wondering What's he going to do next?
An hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, 'That's not me, that couldn't be me.' It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.
Quietly he spoke: "I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled.
I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.
The moral of this story is this: THE CREATOR knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the potter and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.
So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance, when your world seems to be spinning out of control, when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials, when life seems to "stink", try this....Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story and then - Have a little talk with the Potter.