The Call, part eight

As my study of the book of Jeremiah moved into chapter four I came across something that reminded me of the heavy burden that was placed upon Jeremiah.  This guy is basically tasked with being the voice of God’s great displeasure and with delivering messages of impending doom to God’s people.  But they’re not just God’s people, these are Jeremiah’s people too.  It’s not like he’s some outsider or foreigner.  He’s been tasked with telling his own people that God’s gonna wreck them in a big bad way.  As you can see, this burden weighs heavy on Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 4:19-21 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!

Oh the walls of my heart!

My heart is beating wildly;

I cannot keep silent,

for I hear the sound of the trumpet,

the alarm of war.

20 Crash follows hard on crash;

the whole land is laid waste.

Suddenly my tents are laid waste,

my curtains in a moment.

21 How long must I see the standard

and hear the sound of the trumpet?

As I read this something occurred to me.  Carrying out God’s will isn’t always glamorous in the moment.  When we think about our “calling” or our “destiny” or our “mission” or whatever word you wanna use, I think very few of us picture a negative scenario.  I think those dreams we have as to what God’s going to put us to work doing are almost always positive.  Maybe he wants me to pastor at a mega-church, or play in a successful Christian band.  Maybe write best selling Christian books?  Or how about just being a positive influence at my dream job while I make $200k a year?  That one sounds pretty nice, right?

I’m going to make a bold statement that you may or may not agree with. We’ve “American dreamed” the will of God.  And in doing so, we’ve wandered away from the Biblical examples of what the will of God actually is.  You can start from the beginning of the Bible and read through to the end of it and see that carrying out the will of God isn’t actually the most glamorous of undertakings.  It’s building a giant boat and gathering a bunch of animals and weathering the mother of all storms while most of the human race dies.  It’s spending forty years in the wilderness leading around a bunch of stubborn people.  It’s telling your friends and family and relatives and your people that God’s done being merciful and is going to allow disaster to befall them.  It’s getting shipwrecked, beaten, and martyred.  It’s getting crucified even though you’ve committed no crime.

What makes carrying out the will of God beautiful is the fact that even though it can be tough, we do it because of love.  The love that God has for us, the love that transformed us from our old selves into a new creation.  And then that love that comes alive in us, His love that starts to take over our hearts.  Suddenly we’re less concerned with earthly comfort and more concerned with helping others.  More concerned with doing the will of our Father, because we know that if it’s His will then ultimately it’s good.

I’ve got a friend who’s been doing missionary work in South America for five months.  I have to be honest, it sounds like it was really tough.  The living conditions, the isolation, the discomfort, just the work they were doing in general, it all sounds so tough.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  What they were doing was much closer to the Biblical example of carrying out God’s will than what a lot of what I’ve done in my life, that’s for sure.  I honor my friend and the heart that carried them so far from home, and I pray for that same spirit to live inside of all of us.

I think maybe the main reason why this whole concept isn’t that big of a deal is because we know our ultimate end.  Give God a handful of decades while here on earth, get eternal life when all is said and done (and no, I’m not saying works gets you salvation.  Only believing and accepting Jesus as your savior does that).  Plus, if you haven’t noticed, God has a funny way of providing for us even while we’re here on earth.  He loves to pour out gifts on His kids, and I’ve found that the harder I chase after Him and the more committed I am to carrying out His will the more He seems to bless and provide for me.

I hope this hasn’t been discouraging for anyone, but I really just felt like one of the things we can really get out of Jeremiah is this great reminder that carrying out the will of God isn’t always going to be a glamorous affair.  Sometimes it’s gonna be tough, and sometimes it’s going to be hard.  But all the time it’s going to be rewarding, because there is no thing more rewarding than being about the will of the Father.  And there’s peace in doing the will of God, because even if it’s tough, if we’re doing what God’s called us to do we can be absolutely certain that God’s right there with us in it, and that He’s equipped us to handle anything that might come at us.

Hebrews 13:20-21  Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, tonight I just ask that you remove our deep love of comfort.  We’re addicted to comfort, probably even obsessed with it.  Sometimes we put comfort above all else in our lives, and anything that calls us away from our precious comfort becomes a thing we refuse to do.  But when we read your word, how much comfort do we see being enjoyed by your disciples and your willing followers, God?  These people fought wars for you, endured prison sentences, traveled far and wide.  They bled and died.  Redefine in our hearts what your will looks like, remind us that sometimes doing your will might take us through unpleasant places or uncomfortable situations, but that you’ll be with us in it all.  Grant us more bravery and confidence, stoke the fires inside of each one of us.  Draw us away from these homes of ours that people in a lot of the world would view as palaces and get us in position to really show your love to those who need it most.  Help us not to make your will into what we think it should be, and let us see it for what it is.  Thank you for loving us, and thank you for all that you’re doing in our lives.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.

Alright frienditos, that’s it for tonight.  I love you guys very much and I hope everyone has gotten through the week relatively unscathed.  It’s Friday tomorrow!  I hope it’s a blessed day and a day full of easy laughter for you.

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