Laughingstock

Today's devotion from Jeremiah 19 & 20. Jeremiah's message, accompanied with the unique actions required by God, made him stand out from the rest of the prophets in Jerusalem. This wasn't necessarily a good thing. In fact, it cause Jeremiah great difficulty and despair. He was beaten by a priest, placed in stocks, and subjected to scorn and ridicule throughout the city. The strain of obedience weighs on his shoulders and pushes him to the breaking point.

Look at the language of his lament in chapter 20. He has to preach. There is no way for him to avoid the task entrusted to him by God. However, it is almost more than he can bear. The city hates him. Those he trusted have turned against him. He is an outcast and an enemy. Yet, the reason he must obey is for the welfare of the very ones rejecting him.

What we read in Jeremiah 20 is the brief breakdown of a man wearied. He just can't take any more in the moment. This leads us to the mournful words of verses 14 through 18. He cursed the day he was born. He cursed the man who announced his birth. He wished that he had never been born. This is a man at the end of his rope.

And, it would appear, that he is there alone.

There is no response from God. There is no encouragement. There is no rebuke. There is no answer. There is only the heading that announces a new chapter, a shifting focus, and a new message of judgment.

I wish I could say that there is some grandiose theological statement to be made, but there really isn't Sometimes following God is hard. Sometimes obedience is difficult. But neither of these statements exempts us from it.

What we do see through Jeremiah and Lamentations is that it is ok to feel overwhelmed and discouraged so long as we don't improperly direct those feelings toward God. The work that He is doing that is so difficult for Jeremiah is worthy of his pain and sorrow, but they are emotions that the prophet will still feel.

Where you are called to go or what you are called to do might not be easy, but, in God, our struggle has purpose and significance. Stay the course.