The past ten weeks have been hard.
My spirit has been soaring and full of indescribable joy the last two years, but I have to tell you – the past ten weeks have been hard.
Is it any wonder during these hard weeks, it was time to study the entire book of Jeremiah – for 10 weeks? Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet”. I’ve done my share of weeping recently. My poor husband doesn’t even know what to do with or for me.
Back up a bit to the first day of the study. November 5th was day 1. On this day I was leaving to attend a conference called “She Speaks Studio” for aspiring writers and speakers. I was so nervous about attending this conference all by myself. I have never done this in my life.
Imagine my surprise and the comfort I received from Jeremiah chapter 1 before I departed for the airport.
Jeremiah 1: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
MY SIMILAR RESPONSE:
Jeremiah 1: 6 “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to SPEAK; I am only a child.”
OR IN MY CASE, I am only an unqualified gal living in a small-town world. I have no experience.
Jeremiah 1: 7-8 “But the Lord said to me, “Do not say ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. DO NOT BE AFRAID of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Hmmm. Okay, maybe there’s some legitimacy to my attendance at this conference?
Jeremiah 1: 9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched MY MOUTH and said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.”
SPEAK, HOLY WOW! I was simply blown away by the words I read THIS day to provide COURAGE for this new adventure.
Off I went to the conference (I blogged about it here and here). I came home with tons of new knowledge and some sense of purpose. It didn’t last very long as life quickly got tangled up in the hard stuff. I suppose this could be my excuse for being so quiet with my blog lately. I have been in a state of stillness – but I believe there has been a purpose. I trust God takes us through these different seasons for HIS purpose.
So here I am, sharing what I have learned through this season and through this study of Jeremiah – which I am 100% convinced was timed perfectly with my life circumstances.
Are you familiar with the book of Jeremiah? A very quick summary – it was Jeremiah’s calling to warn Israel of their impending doom. Over and over again. The people had turned away from their first love – through idol worship and sinful, rebellious behavior. Many of them lost their lives. Jeremiah’s heart was for his lost brothers and sisters and this is one reason he is known as the “weeping prophet”.
Studying this book – my heart felt heavy, but I plugged on knowing there was a purpose. I even listened to this song a lot (one of my favorites from my favorite band Rend Collective) and imagined Jeremiah signing along.
Weep With Me
I won’t go into much personal detail, because this is not about me – but here’s a few things rocking my world lately:
- Selling our family home of 40+ years – took way longer than expected. SAD.
- Celebrating what is no doubt the last Christmas with both kids in my home. REALLY SAD.
- Health issues personally and other family members: a growing tumor with a biopsy and potential cancer diagnosis, a relapse in the long battle with severe depression, and wild emotions recovering from major surgery.
- Traveling complications with a broken-down camper – being stranded at Christmas!
- Other illnesses, trips to hospitals, and surgical recovery complications.
- Throw in the holidays during all this and you have an emotionally exhausted me and disappointed family.
Sigh. It was one thing piling on after another. I felt helpless, isolated, lonely, neglected, exhausted, and very pessimistic about the new year. I’m an optimist – what in the world is happening?
Back to Jeremiah. On January 2, hello chapter 45! It’s a very short chapter so I will include here (bolded emphasis is mine):
Jeremiah 45: 1-5 When Baruch son of Neriah wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch:2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: 3 You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’ 4 But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. 5 Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’”
WOE to me! Talk about a slap upside the head – I’m not sure how else God could’ve grabbed my attention?!?
Now I’m not completely sure what these ten weeks of sorrow and struggle has been about completely – yet! What I do know is it was never about me and I needed to step away from this pity party. Every day I felt like my joy was being robbed.
Each day since I read chapter 45, I have prayed God will continue His work in my life – the work that has restored my joy, has kicked fear to the curb, and is now building my courage to continue on this journey. I’ve suffered some setbacks these ten weeks in Jeremiah, just like Jeremiah and his Jewish brothers and sisters.
There’s a true reminder of the HOPE in the final chapter of Jeremiah. The last few verses take a sharp turn with a glimmer of grace. The new king of Babylon, Evil-Merodach (what a name!) shows kindness on the imprisoned former king of Judah, Jehoiachin (whom the book of 2 Kings chapter 24 tells us “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord”!).
I have no idea why the king of Babylon showed grace to his prisoner – but he spoke kindly to him, gave him a seat of honor higher than any other former king of Judah, gave him a seat at his table regularly, and gave him a regular allowance. Jehoiachin was freed and was able to lay aside his prison garments. All because of the grace he received from someone considered an enemy.
What a beautiful picture pointing to the grace of Christ! It reminds me I no longer need to wallow and linger in the hardships of life, imprisoned by circumstances.
In my Keto journey, I love to encourage people to “learn the science, apply the science, and change your life”. I need to take my own advice and learn from the lessons of Jeremiah.
KNOW the truth. LIVE the truth. CHANGE my (your) life. Am I (are you) living as His new creation? It’s time to put aside those prison garments and step out to courageously SPEAK the truth.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.”