Jeremiah was called into the prophetic ministry when he was young man. Humble and eager to serve God, he became a man of prayer and deep spirituality–a man who faced his trials with courage.
During his forty years of ministry, Jeremiah would suffer intense persecution. He was thrown into a dungeon, beaten, put in stocks, and threatened. Tradition teaches that he was stoned to death. Despite the opposition he faced, however, he remained true to the messages God gave him. He confronted the Jews with their rebellion and called them to confess their sins, accept responsibility, and ask God for forgiveness. As God directed him, he also spoke words of comfort to a people facing disaster.
Jeremiah was also a man of great compassion. He openly expressed his grief over the sinfulness of his people. In fact, he’s known as the weeping prophet. He shed many tears for the sin of his people and the destructive consequences he knew they’d face. After Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were exiled, Jeremiah wrote the book Lamentations to express his sorrow over the pain and loss of his people. There were times when Jeremiah openly and honestly complained to God about the work God had given him. Yet even in the midst of his sadness, Jeremiah never lost faith in God’s power to judge righteously, to reward liberally, and to restore his broken people.
Emotions are a funny thing. We all know what they are, but where do they come from? They seem to flow from the core of your being, from deep down inside. And if you’ve developed the pattern of denying or hiding your feelings, you’ll lose the very sense of who you really are—who God created you to be. Don’t believe me? Consider the prophet Jeremiah.
When you read the Old Testament book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote, you’ll see that you have nothing to fear about bringing even your most raw or maybe what you think are embarrassing emotions to God.
Jeremiah was intensely honest in sharing his broken heart with God. But what follows his grief? When Jeremiah finished his grieving, he turned to God to seek forgiveness. The book ends with a question of remorse: ‘Are you angry with us still?’ the prophet asks. Have you ever asked that question? Behind this question is Jeremiah’s humility, coupled with his hope that God will start the process toward reconciliation and forgiveness. Jeremiah knew God’s heart, so he knew that God would forgive. If you truly repent of your sin, you can be sure that God will forgive you too—no matter how great your sins and failures. You need to come humbly before him and place your life in his strong, gentle hands.
Do you find waiting tough? Most twenty-first century people do. We don’t want to wait in traffic, wait in line, wait for the economy, or wait for a table. So the thought of waiting on God sets us back on our heels. We think our timing is what matters and then God says, ‘Wait!’ and it can be especially difficult to wait on God.
Look at this great promise from the prophet, Isaiah. ‘Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint’ (40:31). And the prophet, Jeremiah, said, ‘The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.
The Lord will reward you for waiting upon him. You can remain calm when it appears that nothing is happening when you think it should. Waiting is a response contrary to the ways of the world. But when you learn to wait, you’ll find the winds of adversity will lift you up, like wind beneath the wings of an eagle, instead of knocking you down. As you develop a patient faith in God, you will be able to endure to the end of the race’and win. As you seek God and wait on Him to complete His work in your life, you will be find strength. Try it and see!