By John Greco
I didn’t set out looking for a career in words. I didn’t grow up with a dream of someday being a writer, and I wasn’t an English major in college. After several false starts, I stumbled into this work, and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. It fits me, like I was made for it. I’m sure not everyone who reads my words on a page or on a screen would agree—I’m looking at you, one-star review on Amazon—but writing is the only work I’ve found that has gotten sweeter with time.
The book of Jeremiah opens with the title prophet’s calling. God says to Jeremiah, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah was literally made for the work God placed before him. Yet I wonder if it felt like that for the prophet. It is difficult to read about Jeremiah’s life, because it was filled with persecution, hardship, and sorrow. In many ways, his journey mirrors Christ’s own. He spoke God’s words to people who refused to receive them, and they tortured him as a result. Yet Jeremiah was faithful to his calling and obeyed the Lord, no matter how difficult or, in some cases, how bizarre the commands were.
The main thrust of Jeremiah’s work was to pronounce judgment—first upon Judah, but also upon the surrounding nations. He was a bearer of bad news, and as the book of Jeremiah makes clear, folks weren’t exactly eager to hear what Jeremiah had to say. But there was another message being proclaimed by the prophet even when he wasn’t speaking: his life was a testament to the faithfulness of God.
Jeremiah’s uncompromising endurance under the weight of suffering proclaimed loudly that God is better than any comfort this world can offer. At the same time, God never left Jeremiah. Early on, the Lord told His friend, “They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:19). And this proved true time and time again as Jeremiah kept to his unenviable task.
I see in Jeremiah’s life an example for us to follow. How we react when this world throws its darkness at us is a proclamation of the gospel. Walking with God is worth more than any temporary stay of trouble. As the song says, “Just give me Jesus,” because really, there is nothing better. And just as the Lord was with Jeremiah, He has promised to be with us too: “I will never leave you or abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). Our rescue, of course, is not guaranteed like it was for Jeremiah, at least not in temporal terms. Rather our rescue is eternal life, sealed by the Holy Spirit and possible only because Christ, like Jeremiah before Him, obeyed the Lord.
No matter what your life looks like, no matter your specific calling, you have a message from God to proclaim—the gospel—so let it be heard in the way you live your life. The world is watching.
Written by John Greco