Jeremiah 20:7-9 - 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.
Have you ever been angry at God? When I listen to Jeremiah, that's what I hear: anger. He says, "O LORD, You have deceived me, and I was deceived; You are stronger than I, and You have prevailed." Those are strong words, and I can totally see why. Jeremiah has been serving as a prophet of the Lord for quite a while now, and what reward has he had for it? Mocking, betrayal, and hatred, even from his closest friends. This was not what Jeremiah was expecting.
You know what that's like from your own life. There you are, trying to serve the Lord and live as a Christian, and suddenly you find yourself dumped in a mess you had no hand in making. Someone you love becomes seriously ill, and caregiving takes over your life. Your job and financial arrangements fall apart. A child or sibling goes off the rails in a big way, and you have to ride to the rescue. None of this was part of your plan. Why would God let these things happen?
Jeremiah doesn't get an answer, and truthfully, he probably doesn't expect to. God is God, and He does whatever He wants. As Jeremiah says, "You are stronger than I, and You have prevailed." So Jeremiah is angry. And yet that's not all he is. Look what he says next: "But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior... to You have I committed my cause. Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For He has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers" (Jeremiah 20:11a, 12b-13).
Upset as he is, Jeremiah still leans on the Lord for strength. He still trusts in Him, loves Him, follows Him, and expects help and salvation from Him. We can do the same, even in the middle of our own messes. We can cry out to the Lord and know that He hears us, even when we are angry, even when the stress level in our lives is 100 percent. We can do this because we know that the Lord is utterly trustworthy, and He will not forget us. He will hear us and help us.
After, all, Jesus Himself is the One of whom the Holy Spirit said, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5). The God who suffered and died for us on a cross is the same God who rose from the dead—and who will carry us with Him through suffering into everlasting life.
THE PRAYER: Lord, have mercy on me when I'm overwhelmed. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? Explain why, if you can talk about it.
2. How do you feel toward God when you are having a hard time?
3. How do you find help in God when you're struggling?
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