I’m pretty sure if I was Jeremiah, I would have had a hard time not giving up. Poor guy, was just trying to be obedient and speak the words the Lord has given him for the people of Judah. Of course, they were not really comforting words; he was telling the upcoming God’s judgment on the people, trying and trying to get them to come back to their Father. He was describing their coming captivity in Babylon and God’s anger poured out. This wasn’t just a message for a few days, a few weeks even. Jeremiah was doing this for years. People wouldn’t listen, they threw him out … they beat him up.
At one point, Jeremiah had just about had enough. Here’s what he told God: “Oh, Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived, you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of The Lord has brought me me insult and reproach all day long.” (Jeremiah 20:7-8)
Ok, so, yikes… an honest conversation with God! We might think, “Wait a minute there, Jeremiah, who do you think you are, talking to God like that?” Maybe we haven’t said those exact words to God, but perhaps something similar…
“Seriously, God? THIS is happening?”
I am sure there are many many people asking this as they face the world today. Why did this earthquake happen? This famine is unfair? Why is my mom sick? Did a child have to die?
But Jeremiah wasn’t done. “But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name’, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed I cannot” (verse 9).
Everyone gets to this point. It can be a physical illness, emotional boat boat-rocking or whatever. When we feel as though we don’t have the fire in our bones, like Jeremiah. But, when I feel like this… I want it, I want that fire.
We may not be prophets like Jeremiah, and our hardships might not look like his, but are we willing to keep going, to keep proclaiming Truth when persecution comes or discouragement knocks us down? Do the hope and joy of Jesus burn like a fire deep in our bones so that we MUST speak, we must love and show compassion no matter where we are? Lord, let it be so in me.