August 4 I Wednesday
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” —Romans 8:28
Do we ever question why God puts us through certain sufferings? Jeremiah lived 40 years with three restrictions from God. Firstly, “you must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place” (Jeremiah 16:2). Secondly, “do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy” (Jeremiah 16:5). Lastly, “do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink” (Jeremiah 16:8).
Had Jeremiah been married with children, he would be sending a message that there is a future for his generation. God, however, wanted Jeremiah to send the message that there was no future except judgment and dispersion. If Jeremiah showed sympathy at a funeral, he might give the impression that God is sympathetic towards the people, but God had withdrawn His blessings, love and pity. Suppose Jeremiah went to parties, he might get a little bit excited and joyful and join the celebratory nature of the party. Instead, God wanted Jeremiah to sit on the sidelines, be miserable and not participate in any expressions of joy, feasting, marriage or mourning.
Pretty awful, wouldn’t we say? But on top of these three prohibitions on Jeremiah’s social life, God told him four times, “Do not pray.” During Jeremiah’s 40 years of fruitless ministry, he was told not to pray for the people he was ministering to. In fact, God said, “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not go out to this people” (Jeremiah 15:1). In other words, Jeremiah was to go preach for 40 years, but never hold a prayer meeting or waste his time praying, because God was not going to listen or do anything for these people. Does all of this even make sense?
In the New Testament, Jesus told His disciples, as He washed their feet, “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7). There are things now that we do not know or understand, but there will come a day when we will understand them. What God was putting Jeremiah through was to demonstrate to the Israelites the depravity of their relationship with God. When we have given our lives to God, we can focus on the bigger picture of what He is doing. No matter what our circumstances are, we can believe that He is working everything for His good.
Some of us may be on paths that are not very comfortable, strewn with disappointments and sadness. Yet, when we have a divine perspective on our lives, we know God is working all things out according to His good purpose.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me eyes to see Your divine perspective over my life. Thank You for the assurance that You are working all things for Your good purpose. Praise You!