The word, the call

Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. He earned that nickname because of the persecution and hardship which he was compelled to endure in the pursuit of his calling as a prophet. In fact, this persecution grew even to the point that the people – the priests, even – of his own hometown sought to kill him because he was challenging their way of life. He shed a bit of light onto the situation in Jeremy 15:10, when he lamented, “You know, Lord; remember me and take note of me. Avenge me against my persecutors. In Your patience, don’t take me away. Know that I suffer disgrace for Your honor” (HCSB). But then, in the very next breath, he spoke of joy. How is it possible to know joy, even in the midst of persecution and hardship and physical, emotional, and spiritual pain?

Well, Jeremiah explained the source of his joy in the very next verse: “Your words were found, and I ate them. Your words became a delight to me and the joy of my heart, for I am called by Your name, Yahweh God of Hosts” (v 16 HCSB).

God’s words become a source of delight and joy. What an interesting concept.

When was the last time you derived delight and/or joy from the word of God, the Bible? If you are thinking, “It’s been awhile,” or maybe even, “Yeah, right,” then when was the last time you actually spent time in the word of God? No, not to prepare for some Sunday School lesson or sermon. Not even for your small group Bible study. When was the last time you actually opened the Bible and read it, not because you had to or because it was yet another spiritual discipline to check off the to-do list, but because it is God’s handbook for life and love letter to mankind and you?

I would submit that, if you are not spending time in the word for those two reasons, expecting to meet with Him and learn His heart and passion and will, then you are missing out on a serious source of joy for your life.

But there is one more source of joy here that Jeremiah identifies: his calling.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes, our job, our family, our life really, really stink. For Jeremiah, this was most definitely the case. And I imagine that there were plenty of occasions when he could have – would have, even – walked away from it all if it hadn’t been for his call.

I believe that a solid grasp on God’s call for our lives is essential to keeping perspective: it’s tough now, but this is what I was meant to do!

If you know you’re doing what you were meant to do,no matter how tough or lousy it is, then somehow, it’s not so hard to have joy.

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