FOR BETTER OR WORSE

We will have many storms that sweep through our lives that wreak havoc on our resolve to follow Jesus.  I grew up in Oklahoma, land of tornadoes and ever-changing weather patterns.  This is what I have observed.  Before a storm hits, there is a unique, eerie quietness.  Not a leaf is moving in the trees.  Even the animals are still as if they know to hunker down and get ready to hold on.  Sometimes, it’s sunny but the light is a different color.  These conditions warn us of an impending storm brewing.  Do we keep going about our life tasks without giving thought to the warning, taking cover, while holding on to what will not move in the storm?  Or do we keep an eye on the storm and getting ready for the winds to blow that could take away all there is around us? 

The “calm before the storm,” as it is called, is a warning sign to all of us to get ready.  We have no control over God’s creation that causes winds to blow in ways that clear away everything in its path like sweeping dust from the floor of our homes.  But we can prepare to take cover until the storm passes over. After the storm blows over, as it always does, we survey the damage, clean up the mess, and begin again to live life. 

Sometimes, the struggles of stormy conditions in our lives are the result of our own actions.

Jeremiah is the middle of the storm of war and captivity caused by the extreme, arrogant disobedience of God’s people.  For better or worse, Jeremiah still listens to God and proclaims His message.  I admire the tenacity of Jeremiah’s steady, relentless faith.  He might be tired in the work of God, but he is not tired of the work he has been called to do.  Yes, there is a difference.

Jeremiah 45, The Message

God’s Piling On the Pain

This is what Jeremiah told Baruch one day in the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign as he was taking dictation from the prophet:

2-3 “These are the words of God, the God of Israel, to you, Baruch. You say, ‘These are bad times for me! It’s one thing after another. God is piling on the pain. I’m worn out and there’s no end in sight.’

4-5 “But God says, ‘Look around. What I’ve built I’m about to wreck, and what I’ve planted I’m about to rip up. And I’m doing it everywhere—all over the whole earth! So forget about making any big plans for yourself. Things are going to get worse before they get better. But don’t worry. I’ll keep you alive through the whole business.’”

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

Trust God before, during and after the storms of life.

Be still, let go of human effort, and know God for who He really is.  Grab hold of God who is unmovable, unshakable and unchanging in his power, love, mercy and grace because of His faithfulness to those who love Him back.

Can we give a SHOUT OUT to Baruch!  Baruch chose to identify with Jeremiah and do the will of God. We thank God for all that Jeremiah did, but we should also thank God for the assistance Baruch gave Jeremiah so the prophet could do his work. Moses had his seventy elders; David had his mighty men; Jesus had His disciples; Paul had his helpers, such as Timothy, Titus, and Silas; and Jeremiah had his faithful secretary.

We are all ministers of the gospel!  Not everybody is called to be a prophet or apostle, but all of us can do the will of God by helping others do their work. He helped a prophet write the Word of God. We can appreciate the labors of faithful secretaries and assistants who have helped the ministry of the church in myriad ways. Baruch was willing to stay in the background and serve God by serving Jeremiah.

We all get tired in the work but not of the work of God.  Get some rest.  Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap!  Then rise up and encourage someone else in the work.  Encouragement can be just as contagious as discouragement.  Even the most devoted servants occasionally get discouraged. Baruch came to a point in his life where he was so depressed that he wanted to quit. Perhaps the persecution of Jeremiah was the cause of this anguish. Maybe Baruch was considering leaving Jeremiah and asking his brother for an easier job in the palace.

When we’re serving the Lord and His people, we never want to seek great things for ourselves. The only important matter is that God’s work is accomplished and God’s name is glorified. John the Baptist put it succinctly: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Blessed be the Name of the Lord! 

Lord,

Thank you for this lesson that brings us back to the reality of You when going through a storm that is rattling our thoughts.  Thank you for Jeremiah and Baruch who worked together well and encouraged each other as you encouraged them.  Hallowed and holy are you, Lord.  May your Kingdom come, your will be done in every detail of our lives today.  Give us this day a day to rejoice and be glad for you.  And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  Lead us not into temptations of discouragement, but deliver us from evil and evil’s schemes to bring us down.  For you have all power, to you be all glory!

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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