ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY: "O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived" (Jer. 20:7)
My top four characters in the bible are Paul, Job, David, and Jeremiah. I like them because I feel so connected to their stories, lives of struggle and seeking, and journeys that seem to be so wonderful yet unfair, by human terms, at times. I especially love the dual dimension about each of them, particularly David, Job, and Jeremiah. They vent their disagreement, suffering, lack of understanding, fears, heartaches, great needs, have a desire for death and curse the day they were born, feel anger and even feelings of being wronged and deceived by God during one moment. In the next, they are standing firm, offering great praise and worship and a resolve that regardless of the situation, they will trust and believe in the One who created and formed them and has the perfect plan and result for their life. I so get that.
I clearly recall those moments I described. I remember when I moved from Dallas, TX to Atlanta, GA based on some wisdom, wise counsel, leading of the Lord, and a series of miracles that directed me there.
I had been praying and believing the Lord for something huge and very specific over the course of a month. It was a prayer that required every amount of faith and trust I could muster in hoping for the impossible. The Lord had been teaching me about trusting Him for the impossible in recent weeks and left me amazed. At times, I crumbled to believe that I was following the Lord in having faith in Him despite the opposition. I often questioned Him if I was doing something wrong, sinning against Him or just plain crazy to believe Him for this great need I had. Continually through prayer and even through reading and sermons, I sensed an answer of “wait and trust Me”.
Well, yesterday morning I found out that the great need I trusted and believed Him for drifted away from me. I was heartbroken. I felt a sense of hopelessness in wondering what to do next and how to manage with the weight ahead of me. I had two overwhelming feelings; anger at myself for being so stupid for hoping and waiting and anger at God for my belief of Him “deceiving” me.
When Jeremiah said, “O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived” it was after he went to preach what the Lord told him and once again had his behind beat up and down the street and was talked about like a dog. God told Him that He would be with him and formed him in his mother’s womb. He basically told Jeremiah, “I got your back!”
I felt like that also. I felt like God said, “Hey Charlotte, go for it! Yes, keep praying, keep doing those things you know to do but especially wait on Me cause I got this. I got your back, be still and rest on me.” Then when the situation of great need failed, I felt like He led me on. He knew the jam I am now placed in and my desire to simply say, “Screw it! Forget this trust thing. Thanks God. I’ll just handle things myself.” I shouted out to Him, “Why didn’t you warn me! Why must You always allow my life to be such a fricking struggle!, I’m done. I know You’re not against me, Lord but could You be alittle more for me? At least You could have given me a heads up!” Then……….something clicked. He did warn me.
The day before I found out I clearly sensed Him asking me, yet again, “Do you trust ME?” The day before, it occurred to me to ask myself regardless of what happens do I really trust that the Lord loves me and perfectly formed a plan that will ALWAYS work out for my good no matter what. At the time, I began to focus on Him and like David, Paul and Jeremiah look at Him and the big picture of what He is doing in my life instead of any situation. That was the day before the news came. My feelings took over once I found out the news.
I said all that to get to say this. Man, it is so hard. Even today as I write, run errands, search for work and go through my day I enter between moments of crying, great disappointment, and asking the Lord, “What am I going to do now?” and then brief thanks in knowing that He knew this second would happen, He hurts with me, and perfectly knows exactly why He did not allow yesterday’s situation to work out. My feelings go in and out. However, in these moments He continues to ask me as He asks you,
“Despite the pain and disappointment you feel right now, despite the lack of understanding why and your fears, will you trust Me? Will you trust that I know something that you don’t know and can’t see right now? Will you trust that I am God and no matter how jacked up things feel or seem, I know exactly what is going on, what is best for you, and have an even better plan and purpose than you can ever imagine? What you are feeling is real and I can handle it all. Talk to Me, yell at Me, cry out to Me….I want you to. David, a man after my own heart, did exactly that and I blessed him greatly! I have NOT forgotten you or left you on your own. Don’t shut down on Me or believe the lie that I am not for you. I died to get you right where you are now. In this struggle, you will find Me.“
I have often found it interesting that in Jeremiah, the first words God says to him is, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. Jeremiah moves in obedience, goes through rough times, twices curses the day he was born, questions why his life is so hard and has moments of depression and discouragement, then steadfast resolve and praise due to turning His eyes to the Lord. He tells God that He deceived him and he was fooled by God and will never speak of Him again (our version of “Screw it! I’m going to handle it on my own without You!) then says “His word is like a fire shut up in his bones.” Finally, I am greatly encouraged that after all that God could have said, “Cool, do it by yourself. Who are you to talk to Me like that?” but He doesn’t. Instead (Praise God!) He says (Jer. 29:11)
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
And He does….I promise!
Hang in there,
Copyright © 2012 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.