Saturday, October 16, 2010

Running with Horses

Through the Bible in 90 days: Day 55

Read: Jeremiah 10:14-23:4

Verse that stood out:
If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out,how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? - Jeremiah 12:5

This week a friend gave me Eugene Peterson's book, Running with Horses. I haven't started it yet, but did come across the title's reference in today's reading. Chapter 12 starts off with Jeremiah asking a fairly sensible question about God's idea of justice and timing. God's answer, which begins with verse five, seems a little un-pastoral. God basically says, "Jeremiah, you're already questioning me? We haven't even gotten started yet. Let me tell you something, being a prophet isn't easy. If you're having doubts right now, just wait. You’re going to get thrown in a pit, put in stocks. People, your people, are going to wish you were dead. Why wouldn't they? You have to deliver the worst of news. Yes, ultimately, I'm going to show compassion, but only on the other side of discipline. You’ve got to decide, are you with me or are you not?"

Even if you're not a prophet, following God is rarely easy. Not if you actually follow him. Forgiving others, being generous, turning the other cheek - these things are nearly impossible sometimes. There's a common Christian cliche that tries to assure us that God never gives us more than we can handle. I'm pretty sure that's hogwash. The truth is probably closer to "God doesn't give us any more than he can handle."

Just look at what God said to Jeremiah, "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out,how can you compete with horses?" Jeremiah might rightfully reply, "Um, I can't run with horses. That's impossible." To which God might respond, "True. For you that's impossible. But not for a man on whom my Spirit rests. Remember, Elijah, he outran the chariots of Ahab. The same Spirit that called him, now calls you."

The same Spirit now dwells in all who call on the name of Christ. Are you facing an obstacle that seems insurmountable? Have you grown weary even though you know there's still a long journey ahead? According to the Lord, it may be time to toughen up a little and remember, even though life's journey may be ridiculously tough sometimes, we don't run alone.

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