24 Sep 2014

more dust with the prophet Jeremiah...and how to really deal with rejection

Things can be both funny and un-funny at the same time.

Like being called a weeping prophet. It sounds funny; the image of this grown man going around like a his tear ducts need healing, and you don't know if mid-sentence he may just began to bawl. Most of us would stay away from someone so seemingly volatile. This is when it gets un-funny. Tears are like spontaneous combustion - get the right mix, and they come brimming over your lids.

In our wonderful Gospel of God-loves-us; it is very hard to imagine, much less embrace that we may be called to a ministry of rejection and tears.

Yes, we love those verses that light up our esteem where Jeremiah was told
"before I formed you in the womb i knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." ~ 1v5
But, read on and we won't be as enthusiastic when we find out his job description and his working conditions!



No wonder at one point the prophet got so fed-up, he was so bummed out, so near expiry, he moaned and groaned his lot
"Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me,
a man of strife and contention to the whole world!
... I sat alone because of Your hand,
for you have filled me with indignation.
why is my pain perpetual and my wound which refuses to be healed?
Will you be to me an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?"
 ~ 15v10,18f

He is lonely and rejected.
His efforts are futile.
It all seems pointless.

In his pain, he staggers and everything seems a blur and it feels he cannot find God anywhere.

Jeremiah by Rembrandt


You and I know these feelings.

We live in a world where we are just naturally skilled at hurting others and being hurt (most of it unintended!). Rejection, loneliness, and doubts assail us. What is the point of trying, obeying, sacrificing?

God's response is not the molly-coddle we hope for. He stands his man up and refocuses him on his mission -

"If you return, then I will bring you back,  you shall stand before me; if you take out the precious from the vile, you shall  be as my mouth." ~ 15v19

Return? Where did Jeremiah go? He veered off course down the ravine of self-absorption and was having a one-soul picnic: the pity party. I used to throw these parties often, especially when PMS hit. The spread is simple - take out from the basket every memory of hurt and break it apart to look for something to soothe your feelings. You will find nothing.

God didn't scold the prophet for his feelings; but He calls him to pack up the picnic. One more thing: God said there it is a mix of precious and vile. 

Extracting gold, refining silver, creating a pearl of great price takes effort. Jeremiah, you and I need to know where to direct our energies: separate the precious from the vile. See the hand of God in your situation. Find the gift and grace in your pain. Focus on the goodness and kindness that can be found in the midst of the craziness.


Picnic basket packed, we move on to a place more suited for serious reflection and prayer.

God says, "you shall stand before me".

God doesn't intend for us to lose our place with and before Him. Standing before God is the place of seeking Him, communing with Him, and being commissioned by Him.

There's more -
"..they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you;
for I am with you to save you
and deliver you..
" ~ v20

Jeremiah, you and I will eat dust and, more than live:





*Scriptures taken from the New King James Version

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