“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:4-9)
By Emily Armstrong
God is calling Jeremiah to be a prophet, and he calls him pretty clearly. Even after knowing EXACTLY what God wants him to do, Jeremiah still says, “I do not know how to speak”– he starts offering excuses as to why he can’t do what God has called him to do. God seems to take it in stride and tells him not to worry; he would be with Jeremiah and even goes as far as putting the words in his mouth! I don’t know about you, but it seems like Jeremiah doesn’t have many excuses left!
Do you ever feel that way? That you sincerely ask God what he wants you to do with your day, your week, your life, and the answer that he gives you seems impossible? When we ask God something, are we really ready to hear what he has to say to us?
When my son was little, he would like to give me 2 options to choose between, like “Mom, do you want this yellow block or this blue block?” After I had chosen what color I wanted, he would look at me and tell me if I chose the right one. It never was my choice at all, and he really didn’t want to know what I wanted. He knew all along that he was going to give me the yellow block, whether I chose it or not.
I think we often approach God that way. “OK, God, I have a decision to make – do you want me to talk to the new girl in class or should I just leave it up to someone else?” All along we are hoping that God tells us to just leave it up to someone else, and when he says, “Yeah, I want you to talk to the new girl,” we tell him we aren’t prepared to do that…could he ask us about that tomorrow?
Oftentimes God makes it very clear what He wants us to do and he wants us to be obedient to him. We might have a very good excuse as to why we CAN’T do it, but God can usually remedy that. Just like Jeremiah learned, God will provide a way for us to do his will.
*This reflection is part of a series of devotionals written for youth by Scott and Emily Armstrong.