What is your response when you encounter adversity? When the pressure is intense and relentless you may become discouraged. The prophet Jeremiah encountered significant adversity that caused him great discouragement. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet – he was tasked to bring a message of judgment to the nation because they had abandoned God. His message was rejected and his own people plotted to kill him. How do you respond when facing attacks from the people you’re trying to help?
Jeremiah prayed to God and asked the same question that many of have when we’re doing God’s will but face innumerable challenges,
Righteous are You, O LORD, that I would plead my case with You; indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease? (Jeremiah 12:1)
Jeremiah was discouraged! He was faithfully preaching God’s message and now the people he was seeking to help wanted to kill him. Jeremiah did not realize how difficult his ministry would become. When I was in the Navy we had a saying, “The only easy day was yesterday.” They also reminded us that smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. When you realize that life is difficult then it helps you to face the challenges of life and not have unrealistic expectations. This was God’s response to Jeremiah,
If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)
God was telling Jeremiah that you don’t have an easy assignment and it’s going to become more difficult! Perhaps you’re going through a difficult time and you’re feeling discouraged. Just as God encouraged Jeremiah, He can encourage you. There are two fundamental truths that helped Jeremiah and they can help you. First, remember that God has called you and He is with you,
They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 1:18)
God had called Jeremiah to this assignment and He was with him and He would deliver him. We must remember that God will not keep you from trouble, but He provides deliverance in the midst of the difficulty. God does not shield us from life’s storms, but He shelters us in life’s storms. Jeremiah was also encouraged to continue his ministry because of the promise of a future hope,
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Let not your heart be troubled. Remember these two truths: God has called you and He is with you to deliver you; and secondly, you have a future hope. God’s ultimate answer to suffering isn’t an explanation; it’s the incarnation. Jesus has come that you may have life and have it abundantly!
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5