If you have raced with runners
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in a peaceful land,
what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)
This sounds like an odd verse until we set the verse in its context. God is saying to Jeremiah, and to us, “Learn to trust me now so that you will trust me later.”
And yet, we struggle. We get overwhelmed. So, here is an ultimate question of life: “What do I do when life seems so overwhelming?
· Resist the urge to linger at the Pool of Pity.
Let’s review just a moment the background to Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry and what God had called him to do. Often times, Jeremiah is referred to as the weeping prophet. This name comes as the result of the heart of his message. He lived and therefore prophesied at a time when Israel’s rebellion had reached its peak. In fact, because of their rebellion, exile was now a foregone conclusion. Jeremiah’s career as the spokesman of God was a difficult one. His message fell on unrepentant listeners. Not only that, but in chapter 11, we now learn that the people want to take Jeremiah’s life for the message he is preaching. And, as you can imagine, Jeremiah is overwhelmed. And, we see that for a moment, Jeremiah lingers at the pool of pity.
Jeremiah got stuck in the whys and how longs?
Look at Jeremiah 12:1-4.
You will be righteous, Lord,
even if I bring a case against You.
Yet, I wish to contend with You:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the treacherous live at ease?
2 You planted them, and they have taken root.
They have grown and produced fruit.
You are ever on their lips,
but far from their conscience.
3 As for You, Lord, You know me; You see me.
You test whether my heart is with You.
Drag the wicked away like sheep to slaughter
and set them apart for the day of killing.
4 How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
Because of the evil of its residents,
animals and birds have been swept away,
for the people have said,
“He cannot see what our end will be.”
Jeremiah asks our questions, doesn’t he? Why Lord? How long, Lord? If you get stuck in the “whys” and “how longs” you are going to be stuck a long time.
· Remind yourself often of the Marathon Principle.
Life is a marathon and not a sprint.
God had called Jeremiah to a long ministry. And, because of that, endurance was going to be necessary. The work that God calls us to is an enduring work. The Bible is filled with instruction about endurance. Here are just two.
James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.
Some days, you are going to be running pretty easy. Praise God for those days. Other days are going to be sprints. Praise God for those days. Some days are easy. Praise God for those days. Others are difficult. Praise God for those days. Every day is building in you endurance, and that endurance is bringing you into the more perfect will of God.
· Realize that God is Preparing you for your future.
Again, we see here that God does with Jeremiah what He does with us. He is preparing us. He is building in us faith and experience. There is a method to the madness. It’s God’s strategy to prepare us for the future.
What if the struggle of today is going to be what gives you strength for the future?
· Rest in the Promises of God.
There are many, but let’s start with these…
1. The promise of His presence. (Jeremiah 1:7-8, 12, 19)
2. The promise of His plans. (Jeremiah 29:11)
3. The promise of prayer. (Jeremiah 29:12-13, 33:3)
4. The promise of His power. (Jeremiah 32:27)
Conclusion: This is a matter of trust—trusting Him every day!