Read Jeremiah 15
Focus on verse 10
Every once in a while we find ourselves in the kind of predicament where we wish we could just disappear. Perhaps a situation where we have just made a very public embarrassing mistake, or everybody’s favorite…we realize its time for our annual colonoscopy! Wait – its annual now? Oh, never mind, just typo…misspelling of the word anal. Colonoscopies aside, the things I have had to face thus far in my life appear to be pretty small potatoes compared to what Jeremiah was facing. In today’s reading he writes, “Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed; yet all of them curse me.” (v. 10)
I think it might be safe to say that Jeremiah was not having a good day. In fact if his book is any indication, this kind of day was more the norm than the exception.
God would say, “Go tell the people My message.” Jeremiah would go deliver the message, and the people would pelt him with rotten tomatoes! Okay, I’m not actually sure they threw tomatoes, but they did throw him in a cistern at least once! After a few episodes of this – it seems Jeremiah was possibly getting a bit of a complex. It is at this point that he honestly lets God know how he feels about it. And Jeremiah was not the only prophet to adopt a “just shoot me now” attitude. I seem to recall a certain prophet called Elijah who sat down under a broom tree and said to God – “why don’t you just kill me now!” And if I remember correctly he had just been declared the winner of the great Mount Carmel prophetic showdown just a day or two prior to sinking into this deep depression.
I think the take away for me from all this is that even when we are doing exactly what God has called us to be doing, we can find ourselves tired and depressed, and it can be tempting to quit. This is not to suggest that there are not times when we need to quit, at least for a time to recover and rejuvenate. This is a decision, however, that probably should not be made in the bottom of an emotional pit.
When I have encountered people who find themselves in this kind of situation, I have suggested that life is similar to traveling a road. On life’s road we encounter high times when we can see for miles around from a hilltop, and low times, when we have fallen into a sinkhole in the road in the bottom of a river valley. My suggestion is that the best time to take stock of how we are progressing in life is typically not from the bottom of a sinkhole. If we want to see how far we’ve come, or how far we have yet to go, we get a much more accurate picture from a high place or even just on level ground. If we choose to evaluate our life from the bottom of a sinkhole, it is highly probably that our conclusion might be similar to Jeremiah’s; “I wish I had never been born” assessment. It is not wrong to validate those feelings, in fact it may be beneficial to do that, but it would probably not be wise to make any major decisions in such a low emotional state. In time, with the help of God and a few real friends, we eventually find our way out of the hole and back on level ground, where we soon realize that it was probably a good thing that no one obliged us when we suggested they “just shoot us now.”