Just when we think things can't get any worse for Jeremiah the prophet, they do (Jeremiah 38-41). After being beaten and imprisoned, he is thrown in a muddy cistern, which was a hole for storing rain water. (In case you're like me trying to picture what that is exactly, I did a little internet research).
So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.
After I saw a picture of a cistern it really got my attention. It must have been an unbelievable experience for Jeremiah to be lowered in this deep and suffocating hole with no way out. I feel sure Jeremiah would rather be somewhere else if he had his way.
But, Jeremiah is following God's call for his life. God promises to be with him and protect him, and look at the messy, "tight spot" Jeremiah finds himself in.
That happens to us too. God takes us places we'd never want to go if we had our way. And yet, even when we're in the most difficult situations, God fills us with His same promises. He is with us and taking care of us wherever we go.
I am always amazed to see and witness how God works things out when situations seem impossible.
There are no coincidences with God. And the more I get to know God, the more obvious that becomes to me.
A royal official, Ebed-Melek, is determined to save Jeremiah's life. He bravely pleads his case and gets permission from the king to rescue him. And before you know it, Jeremiah is on higher ground.
The whole time Jeremiah is trying his best to get God's people to surrender to the Babylonians so that God can save them before all of Israel lies in ruins, and they just won't.
Obey the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me...
So many people in Israel keep running, and things don't go well for them to say the least. Jeremiah, though, as we see later in the story, is set free to go wherever he pleases. When everything around him is falling apart, Jeremiah is full of hope and a future.
It's counterintuitive, and in many ways, the most difficult choice to make. So often we have this fight or flight instinct in us, when what we really need to do is surrender to God.
We can learn from our reading today. We can't let our own fears and need for control get in the way of God's saving grace.
A prayer for today-
Thank You for all the ways You are with me wherever I go. Thank You for watching over me, for holding me, and for filling me with hope.
Forgive me for running in fear and fighting with doubts. Forgive me for all the ways I struggle to control my circumstances in ways that don't line up with what Jesus would do.
Lord, I pray You will help me surrender to You in all that I do.
I feel You trying to work on _______________ in my life. Show me how to get out of the way of my own way and soak in Your saving grace.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life ("The Peace Prayer" by St. Francis of Assisi).
In the name of Jesus I pray,
Peace of Christ,