Jeremiah Complains Bitterly but Faithfully (+ rom-coms)
‘Lord, you took advantage of me. At first I liked being with you, but now it’s not so fun’ (my paraphrase of Jeremiah 20:7.) Jeremiah had God’s Word burning inside him, and it had to come out. Except that the Word was about the consequences of breaking the covenant with God. Like a train wreck that you can see coming a long way off, but can’t stop, Jeremiah had to preach that God’s people were going to experience the unthinkable. They would lose their God-given land, their God-given king, and their God-given temple. God’s people, especially the powerful ones, wanted nothing of Jeremiah’s message. They called him a traitor. God had given Jeremiah the toughest job imaginable.
So Jeremiah tells God off. He tells God exactly what it is like being him. He says that God’s Word is burning in his very bones, and it’s compelling him to speak out, even though it just makes his personal situation more precarious.
It’s ok to be real before God. In fact, it’s the only way that works. If we try to be unreal, and cover up something, it will just break out, and probably in a damaging way. There is a whole Biblical tradition of lamenting and complaining to God, and it is an expression of deep faith and trust when going through an impossibly demanding situation. So…
- Be aware what you are experiencing, and then tell God. Use words, tears, whatever you need to use.
- Try not to be totally wrapped up in your pain and your experience. You want to allow God at least a tiny entrance way into your pain, otherwise nothing can change.
- Expect a response. There will be one. If it is simply silence, explore the quality or texture of that silence. Is God there in the silence? What is that like?
- Find some practice that works for you and helps ease the distress levels. It could be simply praying the Lord’s Prayer aloud, giving attention to each word. It could be taking the dog for a walk or curling up with your cat. It could be stepping out your door, just as the sun is rising, to feel the coolness and the colours.
- If you want to find out how rom coms fit in with this theme (that’s the fun bit) check out the video below. Feeling weary and heavy-laden? You can find some prayers here.
Pastor Michael Mayer