God answers Jeremiah’s familiar woe. His answer is not exactly as expected. “Put on your big boy pants and let’s get to work.”
God doesn’t tell Jeremiah that things will get better or even easier. Instead, He says that harder times are still up ahead. “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” There is MUCH work to be done and it will take GREAT STRENGTH to accomplish all of it.
Not exactly what Jeremiah was hoping for. He was hoping that God would grab all the evil in the world and shake it out immediately. Then he could get on with building the people back up to loving God. It would certainly make his life much easier. But God wasn’t there yet. There were still steps that the people would have to pass through first.
Yes, God was going to ‘pluck up’ all the evil. He had enough of His people’s behavior. And all those around would see His justice. Whether or not they recognized it as God’s doing and not their own was a matter for another day. God’s people would KNOW the reason for their fall. Jeremiah was going to tell them. And tell them. And Tell Them.
God warned Jeremiah of a ‘tactic’ the people might try. They might pretend to be turning back to God. Saying the things that sounded right to Jeremiah. But their hearts were FAR from turning to God. In fact, God warns Jeremiah that the people would want him dead. He already encountered a little of that from those in his home town. God said it would be widespread.
God didn’t leave Jeremiah looking at a bleak future. He spoke of hope. “I’m ANGRY right now, and I’m hurt. My people are going to experience My discipline. It WON’T be pleasant. Afterwards, I’ll pick them back up and restore them to this land I gave their fathers. After they have learned to LOVE me as much as they loved their false idols. They will be stronger for their experience.”
Jeremiah would not be alive to see the time of restoration but he trusted God that it would happen. He would be instrumental in planting the seed of hope that would grow during the time of captivity. Only when and because he obeyed the Lord.
“Hold tight Jeremiah. It’s going to get rough but I’m with you. I have a job for you to do and I WON’T let anyone stop you or seriously hurt you. I am with you wherever you go, including into the pit or the dungeon. And, YES, I’m going to do EXACTLY as I have said. I WILL destroy the evil; in MY time.”
To us, God says “Hold on tight” too. Whatever it is that He has given you to do, do it with ALL your heart for Him. Let Him worry about the effectiveness of your role. No matter how hard it gets, hang onto His hand and the sure hope He has promised. God never promised anyone a ‘smooth’ ride. Jesus had to hold on too and if God didn’t spare His own Son hardship, what makes you think you will miss it all? And God knows the EXACT time to act and bring about each part of His plan.
Father God, forgive me for trying to rush You. It wouldn’t work anyway. I will keep doing what it is that You have given me to do for now. And I will trust You with the rest! You know how hard patience is for me, but I will try with all my heart.