Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.
Pottery is one of those things that looks easy to do, until you actually try it. As part of my art major in college, I had to take pottery. It was probably the hardest class I ever took in my life! I would spend hours kneading that clay (at least it was a good stress reliever!) and working at the wheel, only to come up with nothing. My bowls were too thick and when I would try to make them thinner, the things would collapse. I came out of that class with one very sad looking blue bowl to show for my semester of effort. I still have that bowl, as a reminder to be humble, as well as for its humor value.
I always remember that experience when I encounter this verse in scripture. Thankfully, God is a much better potter than I am! He can make amazing things out of the clay in his hands, each with a different purpose, each with a different beauty. It also means that we need to be worked a bit. You can’t just take a lump of clay and throw it on the wheel. It needs to be kneaded to get the air out. Sometimes, there needs to be a course correction in the middle of the process. The clay needs to be smushed back together in order to create something new. In life’s hard times, remember that they are part of the process, necessary to create a magnificent finished product. We are indeed clay in God’s hands. Let us submit to his craftsmanship.