Unending

You understand, O LORD;
remember me and care for me.
Avenge me on my persecutors.
You are long-suffering—do not take me away;
think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.
When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
O LORD God Almighty.
I never sat in the company of revelers,
never made merry with them;
I sat alone because your hand was on me
and you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain unending
and my wound grievous and incurable?
Will you be to me like a deceptive brook,
like a spring that fails?
Therefore this is what the LORD says:
“If you repent, I will restore you
that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
you will be my spokesman.
Let this people turn to you,
but you must not turn to them.
I will make you a wall to this people,
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
but will not overcome you,
for I am with you
to rescue and save you,”
declares the LORD.
“I will save you from the hands of the wicked
and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.” (Jeremiah 15:15-21)

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you follow the instructions, it still won’t work. Jeremiah found joy in God, but not in how his life has gone. Ever since he became God’s spokesperson, he he’d had nothing but unrelieved pain and suffering. No one believed him, the political and religious establishment not only didn’t pay attention to what he told them, they worked against him and threatened him and sometimes followed through on their threats. He wondered if God was as fickle as some of the so-called streams of the land—the wadis of Israel—that had water sometimes, maybe after it rained, but all too often offered up nothing but sand.

Jeremiah not only felt like he was alone against the world, he really was alone against the world. He felt as if not only did no one care, but that even God had abandoned him, leaving him to twist in the wind. But God brought reassurance, though perhaps not what Jeremiah was looking for. He told Jeremiah that the people opposed to him would continue to oppose him; but their opposition would be ineffective. When Jeremiah thought about being delivered from his problems, he was thinking more in terms of them going away—not that he would simply learn to bear up under them. But whether a problem vanishes, or whether we survive beneath its heavy weight, either way, we have victory. God always takes care of his servants; just not always the way the servants imagine it would be or the way they might want.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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