All along I have been amazed at Jeremiah’s fortitude in staying strong. God has been giving him extremely difficult messages to share as well as employing teachable moments to warn the people. Jeremiah continues to be dutiful in his mission despite any exhaustion or frustration. But in today’s reading, it seems he’s had enough!
Jeremiah’s brutal honesty is striking as he cries out to God. We can only begin to imagine the emotions coursing through his veins. He’s desperate, feeling he’s on display. Jeremiah believes he’s been overtaken and even misled by God. Have you ever felt such anguish in your faith journey? Have you ever questioned God’s intentions or whether he was even listening?
I have to say that I can identify a bit with Jeremiah’s statement, “his word burns in my heart like a fire.” I can’t keep the passion and devotion I have toward God a secret, despite the risk. God’s truth screams to be released and shared. I’m learning from experience that the answer to so many of the world’s questions can be found in the words of Scripture. I can’t keep that message quiet. What message is burning inside you?
It can be intimidating to step out in faith. We might fear what people will think or that we won’t be good representatives of God’s message. I’m sure Jeremiah struggled with that, too. The words he shares here about how he overcomes his negative thinking can be helpful for us to keep in mind, too. “But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten.” That’s powerful stuff! A great warrior is such a potent image for God’s majesty. How else would you describe God and how he is working in your life?
We have probably all had moments when we questioned God. Maybe we’ve even yelled at him in our moments of anguish. Doesn’t it help a little to see a man like Jeremiah, one of God’s great prophets, do the same thing? Not only does it humanize Jeremiah, but it also gives us consolation that we’re not alone.
God desires our honesty. There is nothing we can say that will shock him. We can only feel better when we vent our questions and concerns to God. Hebrews 4:16 also gives us great wisdom. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
When we come boldly before God, he will give us mercy and grace. That the exact prescription for what we need when we’re feeling confused or abused. When we quietly stew over a situation trying to “go it alone,” we can find ourselves going down unhealthy paths. That’s not what God wants for us.
We can trust God to work with our mess. One of my favorite verses, Romans 8:28, speaks to God’s mastery. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” God can take whatever we’re ranting about and turn it into something good. What do you need to cry out to God about today? Go ahead and tell him!
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for the grace and mercy you extend even when my doubting heart is working overtime. You are so good. Thank you for always listening to my rants. Forgive me when I fail to listen or obey. Help me to do better next time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.