by: Chuck Boatman
CEM's Executive Director
Seeing lives change is one of the primary joys we experience in being a part of CEM. Sometimes the change happens slowly in the form of steady growth. More often, the growth comes in spurts, with occasional setbacks requiring the change process to begin again.
I was reminded of this recently as I was reading Jeremiah. In chapter 18, God told the prophet Jeremiah to visit a potter and observe him at work. The vessel the potter was creating developed a flaw, so he made it a lump of clay again and formed a new vessel on the wheel.
Life at the Ranch is like the potter’s revolving wheel. There is a regular cycle of activities: devotions, church services, school, work program, visiting speakers, recreation, and social events—each part of a plan designed to complement God’s activity in creating new vessels which his Spirit can fill and then overflow into the world.
Sometimes God presses the vessel-in-process into a lump of clay again. We may send a student home for a couple of weeks to reflect on whether he or she really wants to become the new vessel God desires to create. The process is always intended to be redemptive.
Just as Jeremiah’s potter didn’t throw out the flawed lump of clay, we continue to participate with God, praying for wisdom to know how to guide our students as God turns them into His new creation.
Interns and staff are also a part of God’s lump of clay. No matter how many years we have been Christians, each of us is still a work in progress. God shapes us through the normal stresses of our lives and through the challenges of being his agents of renewal in the lives of others.
In recent years, I have begun to realize that, even in times of crisis, I can sense God at work. Sometimes the potter’s wheel is spinning so fast it makes me dizzy, yet I am aware that God is creating something new in me. Years ago, Bill Gaither wrote a wonderful piece of music that, hopefully, speaks for all of us:
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.
May it be so with you.