The Old Spiritual, “There Is a Balm in Gilead” says, “Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.”
Discouragement is an occupational hazard of ministry; but whoever we’re downcast, we can turn to Jeremiah – the Weeping Prophet – and regain our perspective.
When Jeremiah was commissioned, the Lord said to him,
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
For, behold, I have made thee this day a defensed city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I
am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee” (Jer 1:17-19).
Jeremiah’s forty-year ministry was centered in Judah, during the reigns of the final five kings of Judah, right up until the time Babylon destroyed the city.
Jeremiah didn’t have an easy task. He was beaten and imprisoned. He was thrown into a muddy cistern. His writings were cut up and burned.
In the end, he was forcibly taken to Egypt, where he apparently died. But he was faithful at every point – sometimes weeping and struggling to understand – but faithful.
And through him God gave the promise of establishing a “new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” – a covenant fulfilled by the shed blood of Jesus.
When we do our best for the Lord and have little to show for it, we’re companions with Jeremiah. Just as the Lord was with him, He will be with you. God will bless your efforts for His glory.
God expects us to persevere in His work, even when our heart is broken, our message is rejected, and our labor appears vain.
“But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jer 1:7).
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer 33:3).
We must go to all to whom He sends us and speak whatever He tells us.