Almost Overcome

Jeremiah, Job, and Sometimes... Us

God chose Jeremiah to be His prophet before he was born (Jeremiah 1:5). And Jeremiah faithfully spoke to God's sinful people the words of the Lord for 23 years (Jeremiah 25:3). But the people would not listen and turn from their evil ways. He was beaten, put in stocks, and finally, carried to Egypt. The fact that his people were so hardhearted and chose evil over good caused him great anguish, until finally, in the depths of despair he cried out: "I cannot endure it...Cursed be the day I was born. Let the day not be blessed when my mother bore me...why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow, so that my days have been spent in shame?" (Jeremiah 20:7-18) Jeremiah was almost overcome. Consider that: He was almost "at the end of his rope." He had preached God's word all his life and nobody listened. He was devastated. He was overwhelmed. Life had no joy. He felt like giving up. Life had no meaning anymore. 23 years! Of faithfulness to God—and no results! He was ready to give it up. Yet in his anguish he knew that God was the source of his strength: "The LORD is with me...sing to the Lord, praise the LORD!" (Jeremiah 20:11,13)

That righteous man, Job, who "was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1) also was so overwhelmed by his troubles that he "cursed the day of his birth...Let the day perish on which I was born...let not God above care for it, nor light shine on it...why did I not die at birth...now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest...like a miscarriage...I would not be...why is light given to him that suffers? And life to the bitter of soul; who long for death, but there is none...my groaning comes at the sight of my food...my cries pour out like water...I am not at ease, nor am I quiet. I am not at rest, but turmoil comes." (Job 3:1-26). Job had lost everything in a moment—oxen and donkeys taken, servants killed, fire from God had burnt up all the sheep and the servants, camels captured and servants dead. Then a great wind blew the house down on his seven sons and three daughters and they were all dead!!! No wonder Job was overwhelmed and in anguish. Even his wife said "Curse God and die." But Job, too, knew his hope was in God. "Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." He told his wife, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" "In all this Job did not sin with his lips." When his three friends came to comfort him he was such a pitiful sight they "did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept" tearing their clothes. They sat down with him for seven days without speaking, so great was his loss. "They saw that his pain was very great."

Have you ever felt that way? I have. When I lost my first wife I was devastated. Then after God had given me happiness again, and I lost my second wife, her daughter and our son-in-law in a 41 day period, I, too, was overwhelmed. Such a loss! My joy was gone. I cried a lot, and still do. But God is our stay. He will lift us up. He will give us comfort. We do not turn from our Creator and our God just because trouble comes. He is our rock and our salvation. He is the strength of our life. We must through many trials enter the Kingdom of God. Cry to the LORD in your troubles!

So when the evil days come, when you have no joy in them, remember these words: "Blessed be the LORD, because He has heard the voice of my supplication. The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." (Psalms 28:6-9). Remember, the Kingdom is coming. Christ is coming to raise our loved ones. They will have Eternal Life! So take heart. Work faithfully for him until death. A better day is coming. That day will be a day of happiness and peace. We shall have rest for our souls. God will be magnified. His Son will be exalted. Their glory will fill the earth. Why, then, should we be sad? "This is the day that the Lord has made, we can rejoice in it and be glad."

by James Mattison