September 5, 2016

Jeremiah 20:7 O Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived;
you overpowered me and prevailed.

You can’t accuse Jeremiah of hiding his feelings! I think the majority of genuine Christians, even, would be afraid to talk to God like this. However, it’s important to notice just what it is that has Jeremiah so upset. It’s not God, really, but rather the response of the people to whom Jeremiah is trying to communicate the Word of the Lord. Reading the entire Book of Jeremiah, there is nowhere the Lord promises him it will be easy. Rather, He says He will strengthen Jeremiah against them. (Jeremiah 1:8) The tension between his awareness of God and his view of his circumstances was so great that today, a speech like this would be described as bipolar. With all that is going on in the world today, any thoughtful person could be that way. The task, then, is to shift our focus more and more from the temporal to the eternal. The difficulty is that at this point we ourselves are temporal, and it takes real faith to shift our focus to God with any consistency. The writer to the Hebrews put it so beautifully: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3) “Growing weary and losing heart” has been a risk for believers down through the centuries, but as John said, faith will overcome. (1 John 5:4)

I have certainly had my “Jeremiah moments,” feeling overwhelmed by the response, or lack of it, to my ministry, but God has always pulled me through. I am totally convinced that I can accomplish nothing good on my own, (John 15:5) but I have experienced the power of God to do some fairly remarkable things through me. I am not to fear being honest before God, but I’ve got to remember always that He sees things differently, and far better, than I do. He knows every outcome, every ripple from every event, and I’ve got to trust Him with it all. Sometimes, like Isaiah, I’ve got to “set my face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7) and keep going, remembering that God’s outcomes are always good.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that the typhoon that was supposed to hit us last night seems to have largely passed us by. Thank You that the unexpected additions to today’s schedule fit together so well. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in all of it, allowing You to work Your perfect will in and through me, for the blessing of all involved and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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