Home > Jeremiah Was a Dragon-Man > Jeremiah Was A Dragon Man: Sometimes Following God Blows

Jeremiah Was A Dragon Man: Sometimes Following God Blows

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?
Jeremiah 15:16-18

The prophet Jeremiah has had a rough life. In the first couple of chapters, we learn that Jeremiah thought of himself as too young and thus incapable of speaking God’s word to Israel. Jeremiah comes across as not wanting to be God’s prophet to Jerusalem. There is a growing sense in the last few chapters (this trend will continue) that everyone is against Jeremiah. No one seems to listen to what he says. The other “prophets” speak against Jeremiah’s prophecy, and the people trust their lies over the truth of YHWH spoken through Jeremiah. Jeremiah feels alone and despised, it’s tearing him apart, and the worst part is YHWH seems pretty okay with this.
Jeremiah followed YHWH pretty well and yet spends a considerable amount of time in misery. There’s some value in this. Jeremiah’s sense of aloneness and feeling of God being against Him is a foreshadowing of Israel’s exile. Jeremiah’s present sense of rejection by Israel and God’s forbiddance of a wife elicits from Jeremiah some of the same feelings YHWH feels, rejected by His people and divorced by his pride. I suspect Jeremiah taught with more urgency and desperation because of the richly complex emotional life the young man experienced. Whether or not there is a point to Jeremiah’s suffering doesn’t change the frustration of it. Pain sucks.
God has been often bringing me experiences, temptations, relationship issues, and life circumstances that in some way relate directly to what I’m reading in Jeremiah (not always what comes out in the blog, but often). I typed the quotation up on 12/8 with intent to write something like this, on 12/9 I fell ill. Again.
I’ve been sick 1/3 of the time over the last 5 months. The type of sick that renders me barely capable of doing the minimum necessary to get through the day. I haven’t been able to  accomplish anything in months. Everything I do manage to complete is either completely wrongly or must be redone anyway or is not quite complete enough. I have an ever growing list of things to accomplish, and all I can do is blow my nose. I couldn’t even read without pain. I’ve been miserable. For a man whose New Year’s Resolution was to not think of himself as a worthless piece of shit, it’s been a rough 6 months. It seems like pretty worthless pain and difficulty.
I’m pretty up front about this: I’m not very good at following Jesus. I try. Sometimes I even try my hardest. The point is it’s not like I’m suffering for my faith. It’s not like I’m suffering while following God well. I’m just in misery, caught up viewing the world through a small and despairing lens.
And the point is? I think for me it is twofold. First, Jeremiah the prophet was delighting in YHWH and following Him well and still faced despair, loneliness, and a sense of helplessness. Even the best of us suffer, and if even the best of us suffer, then the worst of us like me should expect to suffer too. Second, as YHWH was working with Israel, the world, and Jeremiah during Jeremiah’s suffering, He is doing stuff while I suffer. Even when I am not functioning well, failing at everything, and am in despair, God still does stuff in the world and in me. He will take care of the people I fail on a daily basis and He will take care of me.

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