I am writing this blog in the midst of a “stay at home” governmental order during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. There are numerous voices “out there” right now saying this and that, both in our news media and the church. Some thoughts I must discard because there is no witness in my spirit for it, yet other voices ring extremely true and I know I must absorb and embrace their truth.
One thing I am hearing from the Holy Spirit that rings truth in other venues I listen to is this:
It’s time to examine ourselves and make sure we are in the faith no matter what. Fear, anxiety, worry, panic, dread and depression are not becoming to the one who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. How do you expect the world to be attracted to someone who looks just like them in a pandemic? The visible presence of God needs to be seen on us.This looks like peace, sleep, rest, courage, and empowerment to remain stable.
There is a passage in Jeremiah that speaks to me right now:
“Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
I sat not in the assembly of those who make merry, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because Your [powerful] hand was upon me, for You had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you indeed be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail and are uncertain?
Therefore thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah]: If you return [and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair], then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece. [But do not yield to them.] Let them return to you—not you to [the people].
And I will make you to this people a fortified, bronze wall; they will fight against you, but they will not prevail over you, for I am with you to save and deliver you, says the Lord.
And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.” Jeremiah 15:16-24 The Amplified Version
Here we have Jeremiah (called the weeping prophet) questioning God. Basically replying to God after God pronounced judgement upon His people. Jeremiah was pleading his case at how he had done right, but why was there a perpetual pain in his heart, finding no comfort and consolation?
At times we can find ourselves in this spot. It’s a spot that feels unfair and void of healing and comfort. As whirlwinds of chaos and trouble surround us, we can begin to doubt the goodness of God. We can begin to calculate our situation based upon our troubled emotions of anxiety and perplexity. We can indeed … calculate all that is facing us, without God.
God had used Jeremiah as His mouthpiece to Israel. It’s a great example of how every single one of us can enter into “dark nights of the soul.” Every single one of us from the oldest and wisest of God’s people to the new-born babes in Christ, can suddenly and most swiftly become arrested by fear, sorrow and confusion about God’s true intent for our world and even us!
In Jeremiah’s case, we see how God lovingly spoke to him, creating the path forward for Jeremiah. God gave him very powerful advice as Jeremiah boldly communicated his pain and confusion about what was going on around him. Jeremiah did not escape the fury of the hour of trouble coming upon his known world.
Here’s a few takeaways:
- Jeremiah was God’s servant, but tripped and found a struggle that was overshadowing his ability to see clearly.
- God heard Jeremiah’s prayer and did not change the circumstances, rather spoke to him, giving him the key to make it through so that he could continue to be used for God’s purpose in the earth.
- Jeremiah was a person who “ate” the word of God. He was so familiar with what God had to say about the state of affairs of his world. Jeremiah was a man of prayer. Prayer in his life purely meant a conversation back and forth with God.
- Jeremiah wasn’t afraid to tell the Lord how he was feeling, even to the point of asking if God was deceiving him! Wow. How much more transparent can one get?
- God did not cast him off and belittle him one bit. Rather he counseled him through the crisis by giving him clear instructions about what do do.
- God’s 1st instruction and promise: Return (repent) and give up the mistaken tone of distrust and despair. In other words, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop allowing your faith to falter. If you do, God will give you the place of rest and safety.
- God’s 2nd instruction and promise: Separate the precious from the vile in your heart. Cleanse your heart of unworthy and unwarranted suspicions about God’s faithfulness. If you do, you will get to continue to be a mouthpiece for God.
Friends, how can we be God’s witness when we walk in doubt? We simply can’t. It won’t be a pure ministry or representation of God’s heart in the earth.
Logic and faith are like water and oil. They don’t mix. I believe God is calling the church into a greater usage of faith in our day and time. Before we are born-again, we make about every decision in life according to our five natural senses. After we are born-again, we begin the school of the Holy Spirit where we begin to learn how to rely more on our spiritual senses more than our natural senses.
That is where I’m going! I want God’s realm to become so real to me that when I step over into glory at the end of my life, it’s not much of a change! Make sense?
At times, the solution is simple. At times the only thing we need is some good old-fashioned repentance. Repentance is simply changing the way I think, turning around and walking the other way!
So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day] Acts 3:19 AMP