Meg Andersen, MOPS Finance/Sprouts Coordinator
As the sun lowered on the horizon, leaving pink and purple streaks on the skyline of the lake, my husband and I looked out across Lake Champlain together. With idyllic islands and green cliffs lining the lake, a brightly shining moon hanging high above us, and the silhouette of Vermont mountains in the distance, all this was made complete with the beauty of our children swimming joyfully in the quiet evening waters. It was one of life’s simple but most beautiful moments where gratitude flows easily. But it was also in this moment that I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by the goodness the LORD has shown to my family. How could I stand here, in my home state and experience such a peaceful life, filled with every good thing I could imagine when all around me the suffering is so immense and so painful and so dark? Why do my children get to enjoy safety and education and an abundance of food? It is something that in my heart and mind I cannot even begin to reconcile, and it troubles me to the point of tears. It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that I continually take this for granted. With every complaint, every whine, bad attitude and selfish frustration, I look back to the face of the LORD every good gift He has lavished on me.
Jeremiah had legitimate complaints, far less selfish than my own. He obeyed God, he gave everything and his heart was broken to see his people refuse to honor the LORD. Jeremiah’s heart was for God’s glory and His name and yet he faced true persecution and hardship for it. Still, God had some words for Jeremiah in his frustrations. The first is in 12:5, “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near Jordan?” Ouch, really God? That seems a little harsh. As a matter of fact much of these chapters seem harsh. But then we hear the LORD remind us of something, He has a purpose. Just like the rotten loincloth he had Jeremiah illustrate in chapter 13, we were created with a purpose—to cling to Him for his glory.
So now listen to this perfect reminder He gives in response to Jeremiah’s frustration and doubt in 15:19-21,
This is how the Lord responds:
“If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me.If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman.You must influence them; do not let them influence you!”
I will restore you SO you can continue to serve me! If you speak good words rather than worthless one! You influence them, not be influenced by them. Yes, there is always room to speak openly and honestly with the LORD and there is always grace for our complaints. But what if today I lived my life in true gratitude, with worthwhile words, showing my children that they truly have nothing to complain about. What if instead we openly rejoiced with thanksgiving for all that the LORD has done for us? What would my life look like then? And while I still cannot reconcile why I was born into this amazing place we call home, I know that my purpose is to cling to Him and to serve Him. As I strive for this, I pray there would be no room in my life for complaining or worthless words.