We all have battles. I don’t know about you, but my battles have seemed to increase recently. I don’t feel like I have had any time of relief to recover or process through each one, the fiery darts of the enemy just keep coming in my ministry, my family, and my environment. It all seemed to come to a culmination yesterday. I was sitting in my office and couldn’t stop crying and pull myself together. I wanted to run from all my responsibilities for that day and felt like I didn’t have anything left to pour out.
Suddenly, I realized that two weeks ago God had given me a word for that moment.
In Jeremiah 15 starting in verse 15 Jeremiah is pouring out his heart to God, much like David always did. He was telling God how much he was going through to be His messenger, all the sacrifices he was making, how he was choosing righteousness even when others weren’t, all on account of the call of God on his life. And the things he was saying were true. If you read the rest of his book you’ll see that Jeremiah had to bring some pretty heavy and depressing messages to the people, and he was pretty alone in it. That’s why he was called the weeping prophet. Poor Jeremiah. He ends his rant with this verse:
Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will you indeed be to me like a deceptive brook
With water that is unreliable?
Do you remember the call of Jeremiah? Most people are pretty familiar with it because God spoke some pretty big things over Jeremiah. But did God promise him that people wouldn’t be mad at him? Nope! He said:
“Do not be afraid of them [or their hostile faces],
For I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
God was essentially saying, “Even though you’ll have people who hate you and even though life will be rough for you I will be there with you in all of it. Even if it looks like more people are against you then for you, just know that I am for you and thats enough.”
So let’s fast forward, back to Jeremiah’s rant in chapter 15, how do you think God responded to Jeremiah? Maybe not how you expect.
Therefore, thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah],
“If you repent [and give up this mistaken attitude of despair and self-pity], then I will restore you [to a state of inner peace]
So that you may stand before Me [as My obedient representative];
And if you separate the precious from the worthless [examining yourself and cleansing your heart from unwarranted doubt concerning My faithfulness],
You will become My spokesman.
Let the people turn to you [and learn to value My values]—
But you, you must not turn to them [with regard for their idolatry and wickedness].
I was listening to Graham Cooke recently and he said, “We need to stop treating life’s difficulties as if they shouldn’t be happening to us.” We are soldiers in a war! When soldiers enlist in the army they aren’t surprised when they are sent into battle, it’s part of what they signed up for!
The same for us. God is gracious and compassionate to us when we need it, but sometimes He is challenging us to repent of our self pity and hopeless attitudes so that He can give us peace and use us for what He called us to do. We need to cleanse ourselves of the thoughts that God isn’t faithful, or He’s not working, or He must not have called us, because that is exactly what the enemy wants us to believe.
Read verse 19 a few more times. It’s full of great nuggets.
If we want to be used by God, it’s not a matter of waiting for the hardships and frustrations to end, but instead learning to stand in the midst of them.
So yesterday, with a little encouragement from leadership, I decided that I wouldn’t allow the discouragements of the enemy to cripple me. I pushed through and by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit made it through the day with abundance.
If God really called us we need to decide that His call is worth taking a stand for. His call is worth the battles we will have to walk through. He is telling us, “don’t be afraid, don’t let the things that are happening and the things people are saying to bring fear or discouragement, because I am with you and I am enough.”