An Unexpected Answer to Prayer

An Unexpected Answer to Prayer

Jeremiah 12:5  “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?  If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”   (NIV)

Everyone has crosses to bear.  Sometimes, they are shocking in the short-term.  Other times, they are relentless in the long-term.  Occasionally, they are both.  Are your crosses heavy due to something that’s all your fault?  Or are they heavy, and it wasn’t your fault at all?  But even if you’re carrying a cross, and it wasn’t your fault, does that make your cross any lighter?

One time, the prophet Jeremiah was carrying a heavy cross, and it wasn’t his fault.  He was a pastor, faithfully preaching the Word to godless, stubborn people.  And the “Why me?” bug had really bitten Jeremiah.  He perceived that faithful Christians like him were always getting the shaft, while the opposite was true for the arrogant ones around him.  He prayed, “LORD, you are always righteous…so why does the way of the wicked prosper?  Why do all the faithless live at ease?”

The LORD’s answer might surprise you.  Basically he said, “Jeremiah – you think I’m unfair, do you?  And you think this has been a rough stretch lately?  Wait until you see what’s coming around the corner!  “(The LORD said), “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?  If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” 

If Jeremiah was exasperated, and throwing up his hands in despair with what God called easy life in “safe country”, how would he cope with the thickets ahead?  He needed to stop whining, and begin handling his suffering in a God-first way.  Otherwise, he was doomed to a miserable life.

Do you think you have it rough today?  What if it’s even worse tomorrow?  Let that cross your mind.  Take a step back.  Ponder, “If I’m worn out racing people on foot, how will I compete with the horses?”  Stop whining, and give God the first place trophy of your heart.  Then no matter how bad it gets out there, you will cope in a way that honors God.

Prayer:  Eternal God, halt my focus on everyone else.  Shift my focus to my relationship with you.  Help me to follow through on my desire to give you first place in my heart.  Instead of keeping track of all my losses and disappointments, help me instead to continue keeping track of all the wonderful things you have done for me through Jesus.  It’s in his holy name that I pray,  Amen.  

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