Have you ever had one of those days?...or one of those weeks? Sometimes we feel like a poster child for Murphy’s Law. Everything we attempt goes south. We may even try to work harder and faster on accomplishing some task, and then it seems all our efforts were in vain. Some think these kinds of days are just going to happen and we should take them with a grain of salt and look forward to better days when things will go right. But we all know there are people we come in contact with daily, who seem to never have a good day. Being stressed, frustrated and whining about life seems to be their norm.
Let me take you to a time in the Old Testament when the God’s people turned their backs on him, and were violating his commands. Even though God had commanded them to avoid such things, his people were worshiping idols. They persisted in this state of idolatry, and in the worship of things they created, rather than their Creator.
Into this picture enters the prophet of God, Jeremiah, and notice the intimacy of his call from God, as Jeremiah is told, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah’s response was one that would probably match ours. He reminded God he was only a youth, and he didn’t know how to speak the things God would want him to say. God’s reply was exact. “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” So the stage is set for the task set before him. Jeremiah, freshly armed with the promises of God, is going to deliver God’s message to the people who are making a lifestyle of rejecting God and worshiping idols.
The Bible tells us that Jeremiah was a prophet of God during the reign of five kings of Judah, four of which were wicked and shared a leadership role in keeping the people in their idolatrous ways. We also learn that Jeremiah’s life was constantly threatened, and that he had even witnessed the murders of other prophets. He faced multiple frustrations and disappointments in carrying out his task. Then, he sorrowfully watched the defeat of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. (Talk about having a bad week!) Jeremiah could possibly have been our example of dealing with such stress and destruction by throwing in the towel. But he didn’t. Much of what he had to deal with would cause even the strongest of us to say, “You have done more than was expected, you have gone the extra mile.” But Jeremiah chose to press on, and his insistence on remaining faithful to the message of God is OUR lesson in endurance.
With God’s people in the hands of the Babylonians, because of their rejection of God, you might be prone to ask, “What exactly did Jeremiah accomplish with this faithfulness?” The answer is in that word, “endurance.” His faithfulness to God and the message of God became a catalyst for the great spiritual reformation that would take place under the reign King Josiah. Our friend Jeremiah wasn’t a quitter.
Adverse difficulties, threats, uphill struggles were his daily menu, and yet his motivation was centered in the promises of God. The key was his life of endurance; keeping on keeping on. Although his message at times was about a God who judges and punishes, it was also about a God who has great love and mercy and grace to see us through.
So when today isn’t your day, or perhaps you are having one of those weeks, remember Jeremiah and all the troubles he endured. Remember God’s promise to be with you, to comfort and strengthen you. You see, like Jeremiah, before you were in the womb, God knew you; and before you were born, he set you apart. Learning that gives us what we need to endure.