Depression, Encouragement, Intentional

a message to Jeremiah is one for us, too

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)

mountains with author quote

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:

  1. Return and be restored. Repent of any sin in your own life. Be restored so you can serve God with a pure heart.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Jeremiah 15 command with mountain image

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. 

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2 verses for when life is overwhelming

This past week our school community has suffered a great loss. Our head basketball coach, a man who exemplified Godly character, strength, and grace, passed away from cancer. It was a long, hard fight and he continued to tell the story of God’s salvation and the hope of heaven to every person he came in contact with, including on the basketball court.

His loss has left a huge void in our school. I pray that the example he left will live on in the lives of the students, faculty, and families that he touched. His message to not fear, find your strength in the Lord, and do all things for His glory.

As I process his passing, I think of many scripture verses from Psalm as comfort. Psalm 93:3-4 is just one of them. It’s applicable to this circumstance, but I believe it can be applicable to whatever circumstance you are going through as well.

Between work, family, personal obligations, medical diagnosis, and the daily news, there are countless things coming at us that can make it feel like the flood waters and waves are lifting up their voices and overtaking us. The constant barrage can be overwhelming.

The activity all around us can begin to seem like a roar, drowning out the calming voice of Peace. 

I love the contrast of Psalm 93:3 to Psalm 93:4. 

Verse 3 is the cry.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
    the floods have lifted up their voice;
    the floods lift up their roaring.

The soul is overwhelmed. The flood waters keep coming and there seems to be no end. The sound of the roaring waves is deafening, drowning out anything else that we are trying to tune our ears in to.

But verse 4 is the promise

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
    mightier than the waves of the sea,
    the Lord on high is mighty!

Those waves may seem strong, but we have a God that is mightier. Life’s distractions and roar can be thundering, but we serve a God whose calm, peaceful voice can break through all that.

Are you feeling overwhelmed today? 

Most likely the roar of the waves of life are bearing down strong on you. Here is a gentle reminder to go to the One who is mightier than any wave. Just like He calms the stormy seas of Galilee, He can also speak peace to your heart when it feels like the waves are over taking it.

Take a moment in the middle of your storm to be still. Speak the promise of Psalm 93:4 out loud.

“Mightier than the thunders of the waters and mightier that the waves of the sea is our God on High!”

Be encouraged, friend. He is still calming waters today.

It feels fitting to end this with the reminder of the hope and power of our Lord, in the words of the late Coach Marc Davidson:“…Our hope has never been in a doctor’s report. My hope is set firmly on the finished work of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Whether in this life or in Heaven, because of Jesus, I am more than a conqueror! I remain steadfast in my commitment to honor Him with every breath He gives me. May the name of the Lord be praised!”