Where do you go when needing to be reminded of who you are, and whose you are?
For several years, I have continuously been drawn to the prophet Jeremiah. His call, his painful wrestle to walk it out, his rawness before the One who called him- I revisit his portion of pages in my favorite Book often. This morning I awoke early and restless, as if my soul’s desperation for a comforting word propelled my physical body from sleep. I put on some music and returned again to the trials of Jeremiah, retracing steps taken countless times before. Circling around words in efforts to pin them down for a closer look- a fresh perspective- I read and read again, Jeremiah chapter 20, Lamentations chapter 3… It doesn’t take much time with said prophet to surmise a life lived of painful obedience, physically, but also very much emotionally. And with pain comes doubt- doubt in our calling, maybe even doubt in our Caller.
So why am I here- why these pages, Lord, why this weeping prophet? I’m seeking clarity, not more doubt.
Immediately a thought I love from Benjamin Franklin runs through my mind- Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
Okay, God. Okay. Help me learn. Make it clear, and give me resolve when it’s not. Help me see what carried Jeremiah through. Thank you for loving and using him and all the uncertainty, questioning and anger over the pain that came with him. And thank you for ensuring Jeremiah’s earthly struggles and devotion to You were recorded on parchment so all these generations later, I may know a friend.
“The clarities of faith are organic
and personal, not mechanical and institutional. Faith invades the muddle; it does not eliminate it. Peace develops in the midst of chaos. Harmony is achieved slowly, quietly, unobtrusively-like the effects of salt and light. Such clarities result from a courageous commitment to God, not from controlling or being controlled by others. Such clarities come from adventuring deep into the mysteries of God’s will and love, not by cautiously managing and moralizing in ways that minimize risk and guarantee self-importance.
These clarities can only be experienced in acts of faith and only recognized with the eyes of faith. Jeremiah’s life was brilliantly supplied with such clarities, but they were always surrounded by hopeless disarray. Sometimes devout and sometimes despairing, Jeremiah doubted himself and God. But these internal agonies never seemed to have interfered with his vocation and his commitment. He argued with God but he did not abandon him.” – Eugene Peterson, Run With the Horses