Thursday, August 8, 2013

Protests into Praise

 "The word of the Lord came to me: I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. But I protested, "Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don't know how to speak since I am [only] a youth." Then the Lord said to me: Do not say: I am [only] a youth, for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you."  Jeremiah 1:4-8

I love God's Word. It's living and active. It's convicting and encouraging. It was written thousands of years ago and but could have been written yesterday...for It's truth endures forever!

Today, three words of Jeremiah hit home to my heart. 

"But I protested..."

Here was God telling him magnificent and wonderful truths. Jeremiah was chosen to be God's child before the foundation of the world. Just like Ephesians 2 says....all the works he was called to do were prepared in advance for him. And what a ministry he was called to! Wow! Can you imagine God talking to you and telling you exactly what you were going to do?! How amazing is that!!!

Yet, the response is anything but excitement. Instead, he utters those three small words...."but I protested". Jeremiah had what he believed was good reason for why he could not live out the life that God was calling him to. He must have thought his argument was a fair one to have uttered it before God Almighty. I read those words and wondered, "What was he thinking?!!!"

And then God pushed me off my pedestal of pride and opened my eyes to see that I utter those three little words almost every day and, often, multiple times a day! 

God has given me the gift of Himself, chosen me before the foundation of the world, appointed me to spread the surpassing value of knowing Him as I live out my life as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Each and every day was planned out for me before one of them came to be. 

But I protested:

-I can't take the time to instruct my kids in the way they should go tonight. I'm so sick of the bickering! I'm tired, they are driving me nuts, and they don't seem to listen anyway. 

-My plan is better than what Bryan wants to do. I know that I am supposed to submit to him and respect him...but, seriously, this is a no brainer and it's not that big of a deal. 

-I know that all that God does is for my good and His glory, but I just can't see the purpose of this "situation" or the good that it will accomplish. It doesn't make sense to me and I can't find any reason to give thanks. 

....and there are a hundred other scenarios just like these ones. A hundred other ways that I protest what God is doing in my own life...often, without even realizing I am doing it. And, many times, justifying my protest with what seems to me to be a very good argument! 

So, I love what God does at the end of this passage. He doesn't walk away from Jeremiah and deem him a lost cause. He doesn't scream at him and call him stupid and absolutely frustrating. He simply, but strongly, repeats Himself. He tells Jeremiah that he WILL do all that God asks of him...and the reason he can do it is because the Lord is WITH Him. His weakness would beautifully highlight God's strength! Jeremiah is simply the vessel by which God would accomplish His purposes. 

"I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will."  Isaiah 46:10

God does the same with my protests. He leads me to His Word...His precious promises. He reminds me that it's not all about me, it's all about Him. He shows Himself powerful in the midst of my weakness. Then, He continues to give me glimpses of the treasure that He is so I'll humbly keep remembering that I am "Just the Clay". 

Jeremiah's ministry was one of proclaiming the Words of God and magnifying the greatness of His name. My prayer is nothing less....that my own protests would turn to praise!