Read Jeremiah 1:6-10
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
10 Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
and plant.” (NLT)
If I am honest with myself, one of my most basic fears is that I will be put in a position which I cannot handle, a circumstance which will overwhelm and harm me. When that fear rears its head, texts like this conquer it.
Jeremiah is being asked to do a tough job. He is God’s mouthpiece, telling the people of God that they are in big trouble and unless they change their ways even bigger trouble awaits them. God will also remind Jeremiah that this message will be unpopular and go unheeded. Little wonder Jeremiah protests.
Jeremiah rightly acknowledges his limitations. He is young and not a great speaker. This is no problem for God. As the old saying goes, he wants availability before ability. Besides, the very human limitations we recognise are opportunities for God to step in and show us his own power.
Down through history, God has chosen the unlikeliest people to do his bidding. And when we protest that we are not up to the job, God promises to give us the tools to do the job. After all, he is not incompetent. He is never asking us to do the impossible, just the difficult. What we see as impossible is merely difficult.
And God enables us to do the difficult. He never commands without also equipping.