O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:7-9)
Jeremiah felt ridicule and scorn because of the message the Lord had given him. Jeremiah felt that The Lord had never told him that he would be subjected to ridicule, ostracism, or physical assault. He felt overwhelmed and broke down. He felt that The Lord had used and then abandoned him, had deliberately given him false prophecy. He had said one thing and done another. Sohe cursed his life, his call, his birth. Jeremiah initially had great confidence in God, but his words reveal that he had plunged into the deep and dark pit of total despair.
We, like Jeremiah, all wrestle with the call to serve God in the face of doubt, trials, persecution, abuse and the temptation to compromise. We must not be afraid to express our doubt, anger, and fear to God. We must pour out our true feelings in our prayers. We cannot deny their existence, nor can we bottle them up inside. We must express them to the only one who can help. The very expression of them is beneficial, for as we pray the Lord helps us to see our situation through His eyes. Thus, He gives us the strength to continue. His Spirit burns in us like a fire, consuming us with hope and power.
Jeremiah gives hope for all of us who struggle with the Christian life. Though we may cry out and rage against God, or engage in prayers which border on the blasphemous, we must realize that resistance is futile: God always has the final word. Therein lies our hope: He will still continue to use us not matter how imperfect we are. He does not extend his call only to the brave, to the saintly, to those who are strangers to doubt and despair. Rather, it pleases him to entrust the treasure of his word to “earthen vessels.” It is precisely in their weakness and frailty that God calls his servants. So it was with Jeremiah; so it is through all the pages of Scripture; and so it is today.