You may be familiar with Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet. At around 20 years of age, Jeremiah was called into service by God, prophesying the coming exile of Israel and Judah. The Israelites were wandering away from God and God was trying to call them back. Jeremiah was faithful when God gave him a strong word and challenged him to execute that word.
If you’ve read through the book of Jeremiah, you know it’s heavy reading. There is a lot of warning and devastation. Jeremiah didn’t have light-hearted things to say, but he was faithful to the task that God had called him to. However, Jeremiah had to have had low points, especially when everyone around him despised him for his words and doubted what he had to say.
At one point, in chapter 15, Jeremiah cries out to God. Despite Jeremiah doing exactly what God had called him to, he was met with hatred from others and a life of isolation. He likened it to “pain unceasing, a wound incurable, refusing to be healed.” (vs 18)
You’ve most likely not been in the same spot as Jeremiah, crying out to a large, lost people group who refuse to listen. But you may have felt alone as a Christ follower in the middle of a world that seems to be getting increasingly troublesome. You may look around and see people who are not following God’s ways, prospering and seeming to have it all. You may be in the middle of a calling that feels hard, unending, and isolating. Jeremiah felt that, too.
God had an answer for him, and He has an answer for you:
If you return, I will restore you,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
but you shall not turn to them. (vs 19)
God’s reply is relevant for us today as well. Three things we can do when we feel overwhelmed by our pain, circumstance, or position:
- Return and be restored. Repent of any sin in your own life. Be restored so you can serve God with a pure heart.
- Speak good words, not worthless ones. When we speak the words of God, if we are immersed in His scripture, then the words that we speak to others will be truth-filled and loving.
- Be the influencer, don’t let them influence you. It can be easy to get swept up in the latest news, ideas, and fads. But we are called to be in this world, not of it. We are effective servants of Christ when we choose to be influenced by the Word, not the world.
And with this command comes a promise. God said that if Jeremiah would do those things, He would follow through.
And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. (vs 20-21)
A simple command and a beautiful promise.
Return to God, speak good words, and influence others. Your enemies will not prevail, you will be delivered, you will be redeemed.
Intentionally go to God with your heart, pour out your complaint as Jeremiah did. And trust Him to be the keeper of His promises.