I have been reading the book of Jeremiah lately. The book can be daunting, as I am sure Jeremiah’s life felt at times. He kept telling the people of Israel to repent and nobody seemed to listen. In fact, he told them exactly what God said and they beat him and put him in the stocks – probably not one of Jeremiah’s better days.
He has been through so much and he starts to complain to the Lord (Chapter 20). Telling God how he is ridiculed and insulted, Jeremiah decides he is done with this prophet thing. Surely there is a better way, but he runs into a slight challenge. He says it this way, “But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart is like fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9).
Jeremiah tried to give it up, but his faith was so deeply rooted in him that He could not help but speak. That is awesome.
So many times I get intimidated. I step back from saying what God has laid on my heart because I don’t know how someone will react. Amazingly enough, I even felt God probing me not long ago to pray with a friend of mine – Christian friend to be exact – and I chickened out. I did holler at her not long after to apologize and God gave me another opportunity later that day, but I should have done it the first time He asked.
I long for a heart like Jeremiah’s. Even when he consciously chose to keep silent, he could not. It took so much for him to keep it in that he had to let it out, regardless of the outcome. He knew it would not be pretty – things had not gone too smoothly up to this point. They certainly were not going to get any better. He was preaching some bad news, and no one likes to hear bad news, especially when they are told that it is a result of their own sin. Jeremiah was going to go through much more before he was finished, and yet he continued to share – because he could not help himself.
I want to be like that, to have my faith so much a part of me that it simply overflows. In this cushy life I live, one would think it would be quite easy. More than likely no one is going to beat me or put me in stocks at the city gate, but I still back away sometimes. I long to be strong and courageous, being so filled with the Spirit that it cannot be contained. My prayer is to “tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us” (Isaiah 63:7), because, wow, has He not done some awesome things?
May I be more like Jeremiah, overwhelmed so much with my Jesus that I cannot hold it in.