Like you, we’ve had to answer a lot of unexpected questions in the past several months—questions like where to buy Clorox Wipes, how to do school from home, mastering the decorated corner for all your zoom calls, deciding to hug or not to hug, and wearing mask-proof makeup.
But there’s one question that’s given us more to think about than the rest. It’s a question we really weren’t expecting. It hit us HARD, and we knew we wouldn’t be the same.
It was first asked by God to Jeremiah, one of the major Old Testament prophets. In Jeremiah 12:5 (MSG), God asks the following (emphasis added).
So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm, what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?
Does this sound strange to you? It did to us, until we dug a little more into what God was doing in this moment.
Jeremiah had already been called out by God to be His voice to the Jewish people. This was Jeremiah’s destiny—God’s holy plan for him. It was God’s idea even before Jeremiah was formed in his mother’s womb, and Jeremiah knew it.
At the time of this question about running with horses, Jeremiah was living in his sweet spot. He was doing what God called him to do, but things weren’t going well.
The people of Jerusalem had made strides in their relationship with God. But Jeremiah could see that they had stopped short of fulfilling all that God had for them. It was his job to convey God’s heart and to keep them moving forward.
There were pressing issues all around them that needed to be addressed, including injustice and unrighteousness in the land. Jeremiah could see it, and he knew what to do next. He told the people, but they weren’t responding. He was getting tired.
When we started to consider this question and the life of Jeremiah, it all felt familiar. He lived in a time of reform, but things weren’t complete yet. There were issues in the land that needed to be addressed. The process of healing the land and the people had been prematurely interrupted as the people relaxed in what had been accomplished and got comfortable doing what they wanted to do.
This wasn’t God’s plan. Jeremiah knew it, and he knew what needed to be done. But the process of seeing things through was wearing him out.
This is where the question became real to us.
It was as though God was giving us greater clarity about what’s happening right now. We could hear and feel the fatigue in our conversations with others, and even in our own hearts. Do you feel it and hear it too? As everything around us seems to be shifting in profound and uncertain movements it can seem as though:
But this is not where things end.
This is where you decide to dig in, step up and rally to run.
It’s not a question that’s meant to condemn you. And it’s definitely not meant to make you more tired!
It’s a question designed to bring you back to where peace rules in your heart because you’re in sync with God’s plan and promises for your life. You’re not distracted by what you see happening around you or by what you feel. Instead, you’re compelled forward to do what’s before you, just like Jeremiah.
You can tell that when God asked Jeremiah this question, He wasn’t looking for an answer. He was simply reminding Jeremiah to remember his destiny—a destiny spoken earlier in his life. We find it in Jeremiah 1:5-8 (MSG).
“Before I [God] shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that’s what I had in mind for you.”
But I [Jeremiah] said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
God knew what He created Jeremiah to do. He also knew that Jeremiah was human, and if Jeremiah let being tired get the best of him, it could cost him his focus, his promise and even his destiny.
So God met Jeremiah in his moment of need.
The designer of Jeremiah’s DNA and destiny reminded him that he was designed to do hard things, and that God would lead him through it.
The same is true of you.
But He needs you to agree with what He sees, not with what you see happening around you.
God planned for you to be alive right now. He is right there with you. He knows the less-than-ideal circumstances you face. He knows what makes you tired inside. He knows your frustrations with the people and situations around you. He knows. And He has a plan.
Consider this your invitation to declare your trust in God’s plans and promises, not in the circumstances or challenges you face. YOU CAN do this because you were designed to do hard things. Just like Jeremiah, it’s been in your DNA since before you were formed in your mother’s womb.
Reconnecting with this truth is a simple act of reconnecting with God’s promises to you. You can do it right now. Just give yourself five minutes to reflect on and write down your response to the following.
Repeat this process as often as needed.
Let this be your reminder that:
YOU CAN do hard things.
YOU CAN run with the horses.
YOU CAN because God is with you.
Until next week, run well.