So the potter formed it into another pot. (Jer. 18:4)

I HAD BECOME IMPATIENT with Ndlovu. He said that he wanted to be a good Christian, but he kept doing things that were not very Christlike. His angry disposition often bubbled to the surface, resulting in him yelling at his wife and children, making rude statements to those he worked with, and saying unkind words to his neighbors. While talking to my missionary colleague, I bluntly stated, “I am ready to give up on Ndlovu. He’ll never become a good Christian. I am tired of trying to minister to him.”

As Jeremiah was watching the potter, what caught his attention was not the fact that the clay was marred, but that there was no sign of anger or annoyance reflected upon the potter’s face. This caused Jeremiah to reflect upon his own ministry to Israel and realize how impatient he had become. In his despair, there were times he wanted to just give up. He was probably thinking that if he was the potter, he would have taken the spoiled clay and, in passionate wrath, violently thrown it to the ground in disgust. However, watching the patience of the potter showed Jeremiah that this is not the way of God.

Ideals may be broken, over which we all mourn. However, God is patient. He keeps on shaping us and perfecting us for the palace of the King.

Ask God to give you patience in dealing with trying people.

Jim “Umf” Lo is the coauthor of Unholiness: Overcoming the Forces That Attack Your Soul (WPH).

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