Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Please Excuse Me
You must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you (v.7).
At the library, I noticed an elderly woman browsing
in the large-print book section. She shuffled down
the aisles with a walker, stopping frequently to
drop a book into her bulging tote bag. Despite less-than perfect
eyesight, limited mobility, and failing strength,
she was hauling home a hoard of books! Any one of her
limitations would have been an ample excuse for staying
Jeremiah had what sounded like a solid excuse when
God called him to be a prophet. He tried to back out
by saying, “I’m too young!” (Jeremiah 1:6). But God
responded, “Don’t say ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go
wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you” (v.7).
Like Jeremiah, some of us try to excuse ourselves from
Christian service because of our relative inexperience.
God cares more about our obedience, however, than
our experience level.
He anticipated Jeremiah’s next possible excuse by
advising, “Don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be
with you and will protect you” (v.8). God’s presence and
protection are more significant than the people problems
we may encounter in His service. Paul expressed it like
this: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”
While it’s true that our excuses are unacceptable with
our heavenly Father, He doesn’t just demand obedience,
promise protection, and leave it at that. In Jeremiah’s case, the Lord reached
out and touched his mouth, saying “Look, I have put My words in your mouth!”
(Jeremiah 1:9). Later, God told Jeremiah, “Today I have made you strong” (v.18).
When we surrender our hesitant hearts, God often gives us a glimpse of His
enabling power. His supernatural support helps us to step forward and serve
Him . . . without excuses!
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Do you view Christian service as a duty or a privilege? What’s holding
you back from serving God?
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