Jeremiah 20: 7 O LORD, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. 8 For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. 9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
It was no fun being Jeremiah, that’s for sure. He’s paid a high price for serving the Lord – for speaking doom over and over again to his fellow countrymen. V.9 indicates he tried to stop, to keep the words the Lord gave him inside himself rather than speaking them out loud – but he couldn’t do it. “…within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones”. Wow.
If scripture teaches us anything it is that being a servant of the Lord can be very painful and difficult. It can cost us everything: friends, family, reputation, even freedom. This is another reason why the prosperity gospel (the teaching that God will heap one blessing on top of another if we follow the Lord Jesus) makes me shake my head. In my experience it is often much easier not to follow Jesus than to follow Jesus. It can make life more difficult, not less. It’s as Jesus said,
“Anyone who would be my disciple must take up their cross and follow me.”
Lord give us grace to embrace the crosses we bear for the sake of your name. Amen.