This will be the last post on Jeremiah. I promise.
Mostly because I've just finished Jeremiah with Search the Scriptures.. and have moved on to Colossians.
...consider yourself warned!
Ever since I was little, I used to have these creepy moments when I imagined myself as one of those early Christian martyrs facing horrific deaths.
I officially acknowledged to myself that I would chicken out. Inglorious as that would have been.
Nowadays I let my imagination run amok on more realistic terms. What if I had an accident and became a quadriplegic? What if I lost someone beloved? What if there was a war, or an epidemic, and my comfortable world was turned upside down--would I still be able to trust God?
Honestly, I wasn't sure. I couldn't imagine myself with the sort of superhuman, supernatural calm and fearlessness those martyrs had. And that made me afraid of circumstances like that. How would I face suffering and heartbreak on such a devastating scale? Would I just go to pieces?
I saw this happening exactly in Jeremiah's life, which was torn apart by war and national displacement. Trust was at a whole new level. Your life, your family, your home, and any hopes for a peaceful future--let alone your personal dreams and ambitions, as Baruch the scribe had to struggle with--were on the scale.
Jeremiah and the Israelites faced the same situation--living in dread of frighteningly real and close dangers. He felt the same fear and doubt that the people did, despite God's promise to keep them safe if they remained in faith. (Jeremiah chapters 42 and 43)
Jeremiah was not superhuman or supernatural. From the rest of the book, and especially the beginning, I see a sensitive man struggling with the troubled times he lived in and the difficult task he was given; very much human, very much flawed--and knowing that.
Torn with intense feelings of sorrow, loneliness, anger, helplessness, fear, and insecurity.
Emotions that are alive and kicking in our own hearts today.
In the very first chapter of Jeremiah, God had to reassure him multiple times:
Do not be afraid.
Do not be dismayed.
I will deliver you.
I am with you, to deliver you.
Like me, he was consumed by fears and doubts, influenced by the people around him.
The difference was that Jeremiah had made a decision to trust and obey God regardless of his emotional state. The same circumstances produced unbelief and disobedience in the people, but unwavering faith and obedience--despite his conflicting feelings of doubt and fear--in Jeremiah.
It's all right to experience fear and doubt. Those emotions in themselves are not sins, are not proof that you've lost your faith in God. Sometimes, in fact, they're the signs that your faith is alive and struggling.
Circumstances aren't what we should fear. If we truly desire and decide to trust God and live in obedience to Him, we will be given the courage to do so, even when our circumstances are anything but conducive; to--not obliterate, but overcome--our human frailty.
I am with you, to deliver you.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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