Jeremiah - A Man of Many Moods
Mood swings. We all have them. I know very few people who sail through this life with nary an up or down in their outlook on life. Some folks are mostly positive. I like to put myself into this category, although yes, I know I whine and complain (and justify it!) on some occasions. Others are basically negative, unpleasant people. The glass-is-half-empty-and-there's-nothing-left-anywhere-to-fill-it-either people. If we're honest, it's awfulchallenging to be around these folks.
And then there's the prophet Jeremiah, the main character in the Bible's Old Testament book by the same name. The book of Jeremiah is 5.2% of the entire Bible, and with its 33,002 words, it is the longest book in the Old Testament. God gave Jeremiah an important message to deliver to the people, the message that they should turn from their sin, repent, and return to following God. Through Jeremiah, God told the people that He was going to send Babylon to punish Judah and they should surrender to God anew. They largely rejected the message and viewed it as treasonous. The other priests and prophets of the day were primarily spreading an untrue message. They were preaching the feel-good, all-is-well, prosperity-is-coming type message that so many then and now love to hear.
For his obedience in delivering God's word, Jeremiah was beaten, imprisoned, mocked and ostracized. The Bible says he was put in stocks. Very few people listened, believed, and repented. Today I studied the 20th chapter of this intriguing book. What struck me is how human Jeremiah was. This "big man of God" was just a normal guy. In fact, he was a whole lot like most of us: He had his own unique character, personality, and calling. He was not one having a "tough skin." He cared deeply about whether people accepted or liked him. He didn't like being rejected by anyone, especially by his friends. He had a hard job to do. He didn't know how his life would all pan out (and even though he was obedient to God's call, things weren't looking good). As he got older, the difficulty of his life calling seemed to create more suffering in his life. All the people seemed to be against him. He appeared to be the only one holding fast to his faith. His emotions were battered on many days. His steadfast faith in God caused him suffering. He whined. He complained. He praised. He questioned. He asked for answers. He wanted vindication. He suffered. He obeyed. He suffered more. I found encouragement today as I thought about Jeremiah and his challenging life. He was honest with God about his feelings. He let his emotions all hang out. He griped. He whined. He begged. He told God exactly what he was thinking. In doing so, he was often able to move through his doubts and weaknesses and press onward to a state of praise, worship, and continued obedience.
I want to remember that it's always completely OK to bare my heart and tell everything to my Lord. Why wouldn't I want to talk with the One I Love about every single thing? After all, He already knows it all. And He loves to be with me no matter what is on my mind. Go ahead. Tell Him your stuff. Freely.