Devotional: ‘Thou Art the Potter, I Am the Clay’


Down through the ages a favorite song of the church has been – “Have Thine Own Way.”

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

(Ad­e­laide A. Poll­ard, 1907)

As you probably already know, many of our most beloved hymns have a special story behind them. What is the reason Ms. Poll­ard wrote this sacred song?

According to, Ad­e­laide be­lieved that the Lord want­ed her to become a missionary to Af­ri­ca. Yet after much prayer and effort, she was un­a­ble to raise the funds necessary for her to go. One night, during a time of great discouragement, she at­tend­ed a pray­er meet­ing where she heard an el­der­ly wo­man pray, “It’s all right, Lord. It does­n’t mat­ter what You bring in­to our lives, just have Your own way with us.” At home that night, much en­cour­aged, she wrote this hymn.[1]

Jeremiah the prophet had to learn this important lesson as well.

Jeremiah 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying , 2 Arise , and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

God offered mercy and forgiveness to the nation of Israel, yet they foolishly rejected it. (see Jer 18:11-12) It was because of this that the LORD had to chasten them. As the potter took the marred vessel and crushed it, so the LORD would crush the nation of Israel with the invasion of the Babylonians. Yet even with the sorrow that was ahead, there was still reason for hope. After the potter had broken the marred vessel, he refashioned it into another work that was now fit for the Master’s use. We read from the Bible:

Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives… 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. CSB



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