Have you ever, been up sick all night to be greeted before dawn with room full of hungry children needing your attention? Have you ever made it home on your last teaspoon of gas only to get 3 bills you can’t pay and a notification of an overdraft on your account? Have you ever realized you don’t have a clue about what the right thing to do?
How can we meet the challenges of life, parenting, and ministry?
There is a sense in which no one is adequate when it comes to serving the Lord. By trusting in God and his will for our lives. We can overcome the challenges of life as we meet them with God’s appointment, God’s presence, and with God’s Word.
I am not sent a pilgrim here, My heart with earth to fill; But I am here God’s grace to learn, And serve God’s sovereign will.
He leads me on through smiles and tears, Grief follows gladness still; But let me welcome both alike, Since both work out his will.
No service in itself is small, None great, though earth it fill; But that is small that seeks its own, And great that seeks God’s will.
Then hold my hand, most gracious Lord, Guide all my doings still; And let this be my life’s one aim, To do, or bear thy will.
WE ARE MEETING THE CHALLENGES WITH GOD’S APPOINTMENT–Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;
God has a person for every task he wants accomplished. We aren’t aware of the loving hand of providence which hides in the mundane events of life, yet we trust that God will allow us to be in situations which we can handle, and situations which we can glorify him in like no one else on earth.
Job was a hero of faith who unknowingly served at God’s appointment. Moses was appointed by God for deliverance, although he was reluctant to serve, evaded his mission, and asked to die rather than lead God’s people. Samson was champion of strong faith at God’s appointment. John was a prophet of God at God’s on appointment. Paul was appointed to preach to the Gentiles by God. Remember that whomever God appoints God enables
“For It is God who works in you, both to will and to work according to his own good pleasure” Philippians 2:13 & Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”.
WE ARE MEETING THE CHALLENGES WITH GOD–Jeremiah 1:6-8
Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah’s response to his call was to offer two excuses. He felt inadequate as a public speaker (an excuse shared with Moses, Exod 4:10) and also immature (cf. Solomon, 1 Kgs 3:7). Although his age is uncertain, he probably was not quite twenty Our troubles often cause us to make excuses: I’m too tired, too shy, too ignorant; too busy; too etc. However the doubts and excuses we have are overshadowed by God’s presence. God says, “I am with you”. Our Lord was to be known by “Immanuel” (Is. 7:14; Is. 8:8; Matt. 1:23; Jn. 1:14; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 7:56). There is no challenge in life which we cannot meet while at the side of God (Psalm 23; Psalm 1). Here is the “secret” to success. I am with you (נְאֻם) declares the Lord. נְאֻם is “a whispering” or “a telling of a secret”. The secret to meeting the challenges of life is knowing that God is with us!
WE ARE MEETING THE CHALLENGES WITH GOD’S WORD –Jeremiah 1:9-10
9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Neither power nor authority rests in Jeremiah, but both power and authority are encapsulated in God’s word. There is no reason to deny as some scholars have done that the same prophet could speak both messages of judgment and hope. The order is important. Judah’s idols and immoral practices had to be purged before God could bless the nation. Erroneous beliefs and practices must be destroyed before reconstruction can take place (Eccl 3:3). A new building cannot be constructed until the old structure it will replace has been demolished. “God can speak his yes only after he has spoken a no.” It is easy to be critical of the church, Christians, and others without offering remedy. However, the Bible demands we go to the Sacred Word in order to learn what must be removed and what must be replaced.
God told Ezekiel he would remove Israel’s heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. ” I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezk. 36:26-27).
We can meet any challenge with God’s Word today and any day. God’s Book is what made Peter say that “in his divine power he has granted to us all that pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). God’s Book is able to make you wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). God’s Book is able to make perfect and thoroughly furnished unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:17).
Colonel George Washington Goethals, the man responsible for the completion of the Panama Canal, had big problems with the climate and geography. But the biggest challenge was the growing criticism back home from those who predicted he’d never finish the project. Finally, a colleague asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer these critics?”. “In time,” he answered. “When?” his friend asked. “When the canal is finished.” We daily face challenges. You have had them in the past and will find them in the future. There will be failures and successes. The question is where will you stand in the end? Stand with God and there will be victory!