“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9) For how long do you suppose Jeremiah lasted, how long before he could hold the truth inside of him no longer and had to speak. I don’t know for sure how long he had been warning the people of the punishment of God that was approaching when he said those words, I’m presuming it had been for quite some time, because frustration takes a while to build up.
At the start of any man of God’s ministry the hopes are high, how could they not be, the truth has been revealed to us, there is no doubt about it, and with that truth not only comes elation, but an extreme desire to speak to others about Him. Nothing satisfies, nothing compares to the knowledge that the Almighty has set you on a path, given you all the tools necessary to complete the task at hand, and the assurance that you are being used for His glory, nothing even comes close. The fire that burns within you cannot be quenched, the revival, so to speak, is all-encompassing, it is fervent, and the thought of disobedience never once comes to mind, at the beginning.
But then time moves on, and you find few, if any, that are experiencing the same thing, most people, at best, will see you as a little too anxious to serve, a trifle bit too enthusiastic, and will simply write you off. Your purpose of reaching all who will listen consumes you, and they don’t listen. From those who fit well into Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” To those with itchy ears, (2 Tim. 4:3) to those that are professing Him only with their lips, (Matt. 15:8) these are the first to bring the so-called ridiculousness to the message you bear.
To the average Christian, the one who believes church, an occasional Bible study during the week, and perhaps a short, well-worn prayer as they sit down to a meal, you will be seen as high-minded, as almost a hypocrite in their eyes, for you have not always lived the life of what they would consider a Christian. Over adamant, even contentious will be the words they use behind your back, along with calling you a self-righteous seeker. Here is where the first signs of frustration starts and here is where Luke 21:19 begins to be contemplated in earnest, “In your patience possess ye your souls.”
But as all frustration does, it soon turns to apathy, and then over time a total disregard for the desire to continue to give the messages, to give the warnings, “Let them figure it out for themselves,” will be your thoughts. Here is the point where you stop trying, here is where you say to the Lord, “No more, no one is listening, no one is paying any attention.” And then you recall His words, that many are called, but few are chosen, (Matt. 22:14) that nearly all of them are on the wide path (Matt. 7:14) and that is where He has told you to stand, right in the way of all those that curse and mock His Holy name, right in the way of those who speak words from their lips that are not connected to their hearts, in the way of those who are saved, but have no desire to stand where you are standing, for the road is rocky and rough, danger is all around, and your life is not your own, but Christ’s.
Someone needs to stand in the gap, someone needs to plea for them, to warn them, to show them the way to escape the eternity of hell. Jeremiah was called, but he could have said no, just like most people do today for a thousand different reasons. If you have said, “Here I am, use me,” then you understand this short letter.