Would you agree that life is sometimes challenging and you find it just a bit difficult to cope? There is always someone among our acquaintances all to ready to tell us we aren’t capable of accomplishing a task; or that we are not as intelligent as we might think we are; or they let us know quickly that we shouldn’t do something we plan. When those judgments are laid upon us by supposedly well-meaning folks, we very often begin to believe them. This causes us to look at who we are in light of how others think we are. These actions create in us a belief that our limitations are greater than they really are.
The prophet Jeremiah experienced some of these perceived limitations early in his life. He received the “word of the LORD” about a great plan for his life. God had a life plan for Jeremiah which took Jeremiah by surprise. Look at Jeremiah 1:4-6
“4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “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.” 6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
Let’s think about this for a moment. God is speaking directly to Jeremiah. God knew Jeremiah even before he was born, as He does each of us. He tells Jeremiah his occupation was set in stone before he ever drew his first breath outside the womb.
And Jeremiah’s response is “I don’t know how to speak (how can I prophesy)? He began to make excuses, possibly based on the assessment of others of Jeremiah’s abilities to do anything. “Who, me?” Or maybe, “Why me”? Hear more excuses – “I can’t; I have never done it before. I haven’t had any prophecy training yet. I am too weak.”
Funny how, when we don’t want to do something, we are willing to put forth our weaknesses for all to see.
Thinking like that causes us to miss blessings God has already in store for us. We miss His power working though us. And, in our reluctance to just listen to God, we take our focus off Him and focus on ourselves.
“Who, me?” Or maybe, “Why me”? Hear more excuses – “I can’t; I have never done it before. I haven’t had any prophecy training yet. I am too weak.” These are statements; I can believe God may smile as He hears them. After all, do we think the way we see ourselves is a surprise to God?
God doesn’t always look for those who have already achieved an amount of success or recognition for a task. Those He chooses may not be tested by time, or experts. He delights in taking frightened, inexperienced “nobodies” to accomplish His work.
When we have accepted His call on us He works personally and powerfully in that call. He transforms ordinary people into extraordinary men and women of faith, one step at a time.
I remember when I realized God was urging me to prepare for life in ministry. If anyone could say, “Who, me, Lord?” it would be me. I was young, but not a kid. But I was a man of few words, not eager to stand before a group of people and speak for several minutes at a time.
Like Jeremiah, my thought was “I do not know how to speak.” God encouraged Jeremiah, and He encouraged me, not to worry because we would have within us the power of God’s Word.
Jeremiah was being called to speak for God. That thought created stress in Jeremiah. But, we know that when God orders something, He already knows the outcome. Our excuses and doubts and fears are frail responses to Him and His call. We must believe in the God who wonderfully made us rather than the negative voices who would discourage us from answering God’s call.
Each of us, just like Jeremiah, may begin as one who would run swiftly away from what we believe we cannot accomplish. But, take courage and assurance, that, also like Jeremiah, we can become the vessel God will use to move His people toward eternity with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
God may not tap you on the shoulder and announce that you will be His prophet, or call you to be a preacher. But, God can do the same with anyone and everyone. God can do the same with you. Listen for His call.
------- Gary K. Fair
06 October 2020