Long Suffering Love
Jeremiah's record of his honest struggle and frustration with being a faithful voice for God reveals something that is very common to those who have sincerely given their lives as a living sacrifice to God. The fact is, we will struggle with what God has called us to be and to do because it will always be in direct conflict with our own agenda for our lives. The New Testament makes it clear that our fallen nature will be at war with the new life God offers usa life lived in the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Even Christ experienced His "Gethsemane." He cried out to His Father to remove the agonizing pain of the cross and the separation from the Father that lay before Him. Christ, after an hour of agonizing prayer, fully yielded. We too will have our "Gethsemane" but I assure you it is unlikely that we will fully yield to God after only an hour of prayer!
Obedience to God's call when it results in painful rejection and hate from those we have been called to reach can appear to be more than we can bear. It feels as if there is no personal benefit in God's call nor any benefit to those we are trying to help. "What is the point?" we may ask ourselves. Like Jeremiah, we may see no fruit at allexcept in awakening the anger of people and suffering its emotional results. For Jeremiah, the emotional results were so personally devastating that he cursed the day he was born (20:14-18). But in the end, Jeremiah could not suppress the word that God had implanted in him, regardless of the response he experienced.
The fact is, there will always be fruit when God's word is spoken. It will always give those with an open heart the direction they long for. It will help the openhearted live in the goodness of God's will. But in a real sense, God's word also bears fruit in the hardest of hearts. God's gracious warning, instruction, and the light His word brings prove both God's justice and His love. Those attributes are revealed in what a person or nation does with God's word to them. For all who fall under the judgment of God, there will be no one to blame but themselves for all eternity. He graciously gave them His word.
Conversely, those who in humility accept God's word of grace to help and deliver them are a living testimony to the grace of God for all eternity (Eph. 1:6). In light of this, Jeremiah is strengthened by God. He realizes his bold proclamation of God's word is the only response he can give to the call he's been given. He cannot hold back. Therefore, we see him fearlessly standing before the rulers and people of Jerusalem, speaking the truth he knew would result in his severe persecution. They saw him as an unpatriotic traitor as he prophesied that they should surrender to the invading force of Babylon. He told them that God Himself would fight against Jerusalem. It was true and it needed to be said.
In times and situations such as this our true character and love for God will be tested. No matter how we are received by a world marching toward destruction, may the fire of God's eternal word and uncompromising truth win our hearts.
-Calvary Church Boise
Created 11 months ago