But if I say, “I will not remember Him
Or speak anymore in His name,”
Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
And I am weary of holding it in,
And I cannot endure it.
Can you think of a time when you were carrying something really heavy? Maybe, it took all of your strength, and all you wanted to do was let it go. Jeremiah had just been beaten and put in the stocks as punishment for speaking God’s Word. The cost of his faithfulness had probably never been more real than in that moment. With open wounds and the black and blue bruises as a reminder, He felt like the Word of God had become derision to him (20:8). When something causes us pain, the logical thing is to stop doing it! That’s what Jeremiah wanted to be able to do. He wanted to be freed up from preaching God’s message because it only ever led to pain and suffering.
But disobedience has a cost. For Jeremiah, even though speaking God’s words brought such pain and affliction, the price of keeping them to himself was greater. It was like trying to put a lid on a raging fire within him. It hurt more to try to contain what God had called Him to release. If he kept God’s words to himself and had a reprieve from the mockery and physical pain, he still wouldn’t have any sense of peace. He would spend his life weighed down and weary.
The Lord has filled each and every one of us with desires, giftings, and convictions. He has uniquely crafted and called us for life in His kingdom. We might feel overwhelmed, incompetent, and unqualified. Yet, when we run from God’s call, the price of disobedience is always higher. Obedience to God’s calling is not a guarantee of a pain-free experience. There will be struggle, pain, and maybe even rejection. But to keep locked up what God intended to release will leave us in greater pain in the long run.
• Has the Lord given you a burden for something that you simply can’t not do? What happens if you avoid doing that which He has called you to?
• If you don’t feel a sense of burden or calling from the Lord, what might help you discover that purpose? Who could help you in that process?
• Ask the Lord to deepen your sense of gospel urgency. Ask Him for the courage to release in and through you what only He can. Ask Him for the faith to do so, no matter the cost to you.