“O Sovereign LORD,” I said,
“I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
Jeremiah 1:6 NLT
I wrapped up reading Isaiah this past weekend and began the book of Jeremiah. At my first glance, their callings from God are somewhat similar. Both men lived with the role of messenger – prophet – for God, to remind people of God’s love for them. However, even within the same calling, there was a pretty dramatic difference in how they responded to God’s job offer.
- Isaiah: Had a vision of God sitting in a lofty throne in the Temple. God asked for someone to volunteer to go be his messenger. Isaiah responded, “Lord, I’ll go! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:1-8) Bold, go-getter type!
- Jeremiah: God told Jeremiah that He set him apart to be God’s spokesman to the world before he was even formed in the womb. Jeremiah responded, “O Sovereign LORD, I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” (Jeremiah 1:4-6) Fear. Fear and self-doubt.
I can much more identify with Jeremiah. There have been less than a handful of times that I’ve felt certain God was the one asking me to do something and, even with that certainty, my first response was “Are you sure you dialed the right human?! I’m not a pastor. I’m not a public figure. I don’t even brush my hair most days… maybe you meant to call my brother… I can get you his number.”
But God’s response to Jeremiah – waaaaay back in 600(ish) B.C. – was the same then as it is today to me. And you, reading this right now:
“Don’t say that,” the LORD replied, “for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the LORD, have spoken.” (Isaiah 1:7-8 NLT)
He launches Jeremiah’s “I can’t” in oblivion with three simple steps:
- Don’t say that: God formed Jeremiah and God formed me. God doesn’t like it when we bash his creation. Stop the negative self-talk!
- You must: Jeremiah was formed for this purpose and made specifically for this mission. I AM – the one who needs no more of an introduction – is simply saying IT IS.
- Don’t be afraid: God would be with Jeremiah and take care of him, even amidst very challenging circumstances. God is with me and takes care of me as I pursue his calling in my life.
What a powerful message to me and all the other self-doubters out here. God is so stinking smart! Whenever my “I can’t,” becomes a louder inner monologue than God’s “I can,” I need to take a step back and realize that we must. He will be with me and he will equip me with whatever I need to do his will.
Dear Lord, You are so wise to include the accounts of people who were scared. It is so comforting to know that they overcame their own self-doubt by placing their confidence in you. Help me to do the same. Today, I will trust that you have a plan for me. I will stop talking poorly about your creation – me – and follow your will without fear. Amen.
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