This excerpt is taken from the January–March 2021 edition of Today’s Light.
At some point in life, hundreds of thousands of people will struggle with depression. For a few people, a chemical imbalance causes their struggles. But for most, depression comes from intense personal conflict and worry about the future.
Emotional and physical exhaustion overwhelmed Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch as they struggled to lead their countrymen back to the Lord. Jeremiah spoke about his broken heart when he said, “Woe is me because of my hurt! My wound is grievous.
But I said, ‘Truly this is an affliction, and I must bear it’ ”(10:19). He and Baruch continually struggled with the fact that unrepentance would cause their hearers to lose their homeland.
Perhaps you, too, as a parent, pastor, teacher, or volunteer, have experienced the same “sickness” that afflicted Jeremiah and Baruch. Perhaps your work has worn you out with its endless demands and meager results. If so, don’t simply swallow hard and grin against the pain. Take note of the example of Jeremiah and Baruch. Seek out a pastor or a caring Christian friend who will listen to you and console you with God’s Word.
You need not struggle alone. Remember that Christ bore your pain and carried your sorrows (1 Peter 2:24). Though much of Jeremiah’s message expresses the personal frustration that he and Baruch experienced, the heart of his prophecy rejoices in the heart-healing ministry of Jesus. “I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17), sustaining Jeremiah and Baruch and renewing their spirits with hope.
Get the Big Picture
Jeremiah’s book closes with a series of prophecies against the nations that have oppressed Yahweh’s chosen people. Despite the Lord’s anger at His people’s sins, He still has tremendous compassion on them and concern for them. As you read, ask yourself whether Jeremiah’s ministry to God’s people was a success or failure.
Sharpen the Focus
In English, a jeremiad is a consistent message of doom. You can guess that those who speak jeremiads today are about as popular as the prophet of old from whose name we have derived the word.
But unlike politicians and news commentators, our Lord does not measure success by checking the latest popularity poll. Jeremiah’s preaching turned many heads but few hearts. People heard and understood his message. They just didn’t care to adjust their lifestyles to live it. They—like many people today—had invented
their own religion. It suited them to worship “the queen of heaven” (44:17) rather than the true God. Jeremiah complained about their hardheadedness. At times, he even threatened to resign (20:9).
Nevertheless, God in grace counted Jeremiah faithful. The Lord held His prophets responsible to speak His Word. Then He Himself assumed responsibility for the results.
As we witness in Christ’s name, we, too, can count on Him to bring about the results. Still, we can find it hard to trust, as did Jeremiah. We would so like to see
that loved one come to faith—now. We would so like our friend or neighbor to enjoy the peace of Christ— today! But God is the world’s Savior. We are not.
If you find your service for Jesus growing heavier, if your “yoke” has begun to pinch, take a moment now to read Matthew 11:28–30. Ask yourself, “Whose load am I trying to pull?”
God’s word of grace in Jeremiah 46:27 is His word to you in Jesus’ cross as well. Trust Him for salvation, rest, and peace.
Post adapted from Today's Light, January–March 2021, Volume 26, Issue 1, copyright © 2021 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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