O LORD, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance take me not away; know that for your sake I bear reproach. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?
I remember the beginning of my walk with Christ as a period of optimism and excitement. As I was exposed more to the Church, I saw so many people doing incredible things for God. I asked over and over what there was for me to do for him. I would see a dynamic preacher preach, and I wanted to do that. If I was moved by a powerful time of praise and worship, I wanted to be on that stage. When I heard missionaries tell stories of witnessing great moves of God in far-off places, I wanted to go there. What I saw were the amazing results of faithfulness in ministry. What I did not consider is that obeying God’s call to minister to others might be less glamorous than what I was seeing.
The Lord had given Jeremiah quite a task, and it was assigned to him even before he was born. [1:5] Judah had not learned from the disobedience and subsequent captivity of Israel, and she herself had strayed from the Lord. It was faithful Jeremiah who would be tasked with being God’s mouthpiece and prophesying his words over her. Those words he had to speak, however, were words of judgment over his very own people. That brought Jeremiah much persecution, and even those from his own hometown had put a price on his head. [11:21-23] In this persecution resulting solely from his obeying the call of God, Jeremiah did not call it a day and move on to other things. Instead, he sought God for understanding and relief.
The verses following this passage are God’s words of comfort letting Jeremiah know that he will be kept during this mission. The solution was not for Jeremiah to stop doing this work. The solution was for him to return to this work and continue to do it faithfully. Jeremiah would end up seeing his people suffer the judgment he prophesied, and an entire book would be devoted to his lament over this, but it had to be done. God’s work can be difficult, uncomfortable, and we might not always understand it, but our job is simply to be faithful. He will give us the wisdom and relief necessary to get through it. Father, keep us moving forward when our work for You is difficult and trying, and help us to finish well.