Good morning! We made it to Friday! Phew!
Jeremiah 1:4-10 (NRSV)
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”
9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
For some reason this is one of my favorite calls that God makes on a prophet, if not my favorite. I love that Jeremiah appears to be young and God doesn’t accept the getting out of it. Instead of saying, “Well, yeah, you are totally too young and have nothing to say,” God says, “No worries. I got this one.”
In my first years of ministry this passage gave me great comfort because I felt as thought I was totally out of my league. I had no idea what I was doing really and I was constantly pretty scared that people would find out. Have you had that experience? Maybe the next person who walks through the door will tell me that I am not meant to be here. I especially felt this way in my internships while in grad school…ESPECIALLY when I was speaking in Spanish most of the time. I kept praying, “How am I supposed to do this?” For some reason, and maybe because of this passage, I kept getting assurance that God would walk with me through this stuff.
I have found over and over again that if I find myself in a situation where I am convinced that I don’t have what it takes, God somehow shows up and somehow I say the right words. Half the battle, it turns out, is just showing up. If I am present, I can be open to where we need to be. The other half of the battle is listening around me. Early in my ministry, and probably because I was a bit younger and newer, I said some rash things and reacted poorly. I know that. My setting was full of conflict and I can have a bit of a temper but what I learned through that is if I speak my truth and listen more than speaking, God’s presence can be more clearly identified.
These days this passage gives me great comfort knowing that I don’t always have to have just the right words before walking into a situation because God will be present and the words will come if I pay attention. Over and over I have found myself in situations where I have no idea how I said what I said but I know that it was meant to be said. Those words of comfort or those words of guidance…those words of justice or those words through conflict…those genuine words of hurt or apology…I cannot fully claim them as my own but they are learned by listening to where God has touched my mouth.
God knows me inside and out. If I listen closely, I can hear guidance. If I am constantly second guessing myself, I lose it. If I am talking over the situation or filling awkward silences, I might miss the guidance offered to me.,
Today I want to listen more….will you join me?