Emily Belle Freeman



The Potter's Clay

Isaiah 13:18 - Isaiah 21:1

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I recently heard a story with a message so profound that I cannot stop reflecting upon it.

It is a story of Michelangelo's Pieta.

The statue is of Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding her son after the crucifixion.  It is a work both beautiful and profound.  Besides it's breathtaking artistry, there is something unique about this sculpture...it is the only work Michelangelo ever signed.

There is a story that surrounds the signing of Michelangelo's name told by his good friend, Giorgio Vasari.  Shortly after the sculpture went on display it is said that Michelangelo overheard someone remark that Michelangelo could not have sculpted it ––he was too young.  Surely it was the work of another sculptor, Cristoforo Solari.  After hearing this remark, in the late hours of the night, Michelangelo chiseled one sentence onto the sash Mary is wearing, "Michaelangelus Bonarotus Florentinus Facibat"  (Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this.)  It is said that Michelangelo later regretted his pride in that moment, and vowed never to sign another work.

There is much I love about this story.

I am impressed that Michelangelo was able to convey so much emotion about the atonement in a piece of art at such a young age.  Surely his testimony is captured within the beauty of the work.  I love that should there be any doubt as to the validity of the testimony sculpted by his hands, he signed his name.  Michelangelo made this.  But the part of this story I love over and above any other is that the only work Michelangelo signed was his testimony of the atonement.

This story reminds me that I want to stand as a witness of Christ at all times, even when people don't believe my testimony. I want to be willing to sign my name to what I know to be true...Emily Freeman believes this.  I want my life to reflect my belief.

But there is a deeper lesson I have learned.  It came quietly as I read the words of Isaiah.

"Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?"  (Isaiah 29:16)

I can't help but remember those who questioned the skill of the maker who created the Pieta ...of Michelangelo ...of his ability.  Now my thoughts turn higher.  I think of The Master, the Creator, the Maker and wonder how many of us question our worth in the hands of The Potter.

Isaiah gives us a profound reminder, "...ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago."  (Isaiah 22:11)  The footnote next to the word maker explains, "you have not turned to the Lord."

I am reminded of the days that I question my worth, my abilities, my importance.

Moments of failure.

Seasons of doubt, discouragement, even despair.

The days when I feel certain that I will never amount to anything.

What does The Maker think to Himself on those days?  Does He wish He could reach down with His fingertip and somehow remind us, "Jesus Christ made this"?

Oh, if we could only see our worth in His eyes.  If we could understand the potential He has in mind for us.  If  we could visualize the beauty of His work in each one of us...individually.

If only we would allow Him to shape us and mold us into who He knows we can be.

What if, on our darkest days, we remembered to look unto the Maker?

How different would our perspective be?

"At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel."  (Isaiah 17:7)

Emily Freeman