Thursday, October 12, 2006

Who wants to be a prophet?

Jeremiah didn't. In the beginning of his book, when God calls him, Jeremiah tries Moses's trick: "I am only a child." This doesn't work. Now in chapter 20, they beat him and put him in the stocks. Naturally, he complains:
Whenever I speak, I cry out
proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
insult and reproach all day long
But if I say, "I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,"
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
Jeremiah 20.8-9
So he's stuck in a job he can't quit.

Have you ever felt like that? You know you're supposed to tell somebody something, but you don't want to do it? I hate that!

So why do it?

For one thing, like Jeremiah, we experience the irresistible call of God. (Balaam's donkey also experienced the call, but she didn't try to resist it as Jeremiah did.)

For another, as the rational part of me knows, it's a Bad Idea to refuse God because disobedience, especially willful disobedience, cuts off fellowship with God and makes it hard to understand what he's up to.

So what do we do? Well, as they say in Japan, "shikata nai" or "it can't be helped."

Maybe one day I'll be mature enough, and trust God enough, that I'll just obey immediately with joy. But for now I still resist, get beaten down, do it with gritted teeth.

And afterwards ask myself, "Why did I make this so hard?"

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