Isaiah 64:8 (KJV)
8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Worthy Vessels by Nell Kennedy is the story about the beginning process of firing pottery. Ladies of old would make their baskets from the reeds in the field and then go pick berries. The trouble came when they would lose the berries through the holes in the basket. Eventually, they decided they would line the baskets with the clay of the ground and let it dry. This provided a container without holes. One day the women were collecting berries in the fields when a fierce fire started in the field. The ladies gathered their babies and ran, leaving the baskets there. Upon return they discovered that the basket had burned away leaving a beautiful vessel. The berries inside the basket had left a beautiful color. Pottery was born. The potter knows just how much fire each individual pot can stand. He places the piece right where it needs to be in the kiln and he is always there watching the temperature so that the pot can be of use when it comes out.
That, my friend, is what The Lord does with us. We may have to walk through the fire, but He is right there with us each step of the process. He knows just how hot to turn up the fire but He is always right there controlling the temperature. Thank Him for our fires. It is through them that he transforms us into strong, useful vessels He can use.