Read Jeremiah 1
Focus on verse 5
I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for a young child to lose his or her parents through some tragic circumstance, or to discover later in life that one’s birth parents either couldn’t or didn’t want to take care of them. While I have no first hand knowledge of what that might be like, I have met a number of people who have experienced growing up as an “adopted” child. I have observed some tend to have complicated relational issues later in life, while others seem to be stronger on account of their experience. While each case is certainly unique, it would seem that those who struggle tend to focus more on why they were abandoned by their birth parents, while those who overcome tend to focus more on the fact that they were chosen by their adoptive parents.
In today’s reading the Lord declares to the prophet Jeremiah, “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.” (v. 5) Jeremiah is sometimes called “the weeping prophet” because of his sorrow over the message that he was called to deliver to his countrymen. Jeremiah’s message was not a popular one; the people he delivered it to did not want to hear it. He was often threatened and sometimes abused by those who opposed his message.
It would seem to me as I consider the history of humanity since the time of Jeremiah, there have been relatively few times and places in world history where the true message of God to humanity has been a popular one. Apparently there is a strong bent within the nature of humanity to rebel against God and to pursue selfish interests that lead to self-destruction. God’s desire is to rescue us from our bondage to sin and evil, offering us the freedom and peace that can only be found in a restored relationship with Him. It is perhaps a little ironic that this message of hope and peace, which God freely offers to us, is so often resisted by those who could benefit most from it.
Essentially we are all born in a condition of spiritual rejection and abandonment. Through the sacrifice of Jesus when He chose to offer Himself to atone for our rebellion, God has chosen to adopt us into His forever family; all we have to do to be included is agree to the adoption. Perhaps the resistance is due to the our understanding that when we agree to become a child of God, we also agree to submit to live in submission to Him, just as an adopted child attempts to obey his or her adoptive parents. It would seem there is a similar pattern evident in the family of God in that those who focus on being chosen tend to overcome, while those who find it difficult to let go of being abandoned tend to struggle.
The fact that an orphan is abandoned is beyond the control of the orphan. No amount of resentment will change that, however, gratitude for being chosen will do much to help on overcome the pain of being abandoned. As always the choice is ours.