Jeremiah takes his complaint to the Lord.
You are always righteous, Lord,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
2 You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.
3 Yet you know me, Lord;
you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
4 How long will the land lie parched
and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
“He will not see what happens to us.” (Jeremiah 12:1-4, NIV)
I love that Jeremiah talks to God and brings his complaint to him. What I love more is God’s response:
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5, NIV)
This response speaks to me of perspective and endurance. Jeremiah’s perspective focuses on the actions of others. But God’s response is of a much bigger picture–a race among peers vs a race against pros. A path along a street vs a quest through wilderness. The comparison pulls back to include a new level of competition … an untamed landscape.
Your relatives, members of your own family—
even they have betrayed you;
they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
though they speak well of you. (Jeremiah 12:6, NIV)
God knows the things Jeremiah doesn’t.
But God made the earth by his power;
he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses. (Jeremiah 10:12-13, NIV)
I can look back and see evidence of his power and wisdom. But I wonder if complaining is a doubt of the present and future–a doubt that though he was able to do mighty things in the past, is he somehow ignorant of the present? Is he somehow unable to affect the future? Truly, he is wise. Truly, he is able. God knew things Jeremiah didn’t and couldn’t know. I hope I remember this swiftly before I ever set my mind to complaining, and remember his response as well.
Lord, help me to stay diligent in my work, keeping my eyes set on your kingdom and your sovereignty. I could become frustrated or discouraged if my focus is elsewhere, but that doesn’t serve me. I can trust you know the things I don’t know–let me take comfort in your warnings.