I was reading this with my eyes running a race with the words on Jeremiah 38 on my Bible, along with this short paragraph :
In judged Jerusalem it was impossible to confuse material propserity with God’s blessing. It was impossible to confuse social status with God’s favour. It was impossible to confuse national pride with God’s glory. It was impossible to confuse rituals of religion with God’s presence. The clutter of possessions was gone; the trappings of status were gone; the pride of nation was gone; the splender of religion was gone. And God was present. All the cultural and political and religious and social assumptions and presuppositions that interfered with the clear hearing of God’s word in Jeremiah’s preaching were taken away. Conditions had never been better for developing a mature community of faith. Out of the emptiness God would make a new creation ..
Living by faith does not mean living with applause; living by faith does not mean playing on the winning team; living by faith demands readiness to live by what cannot be seen or controlled or predicted. Karl Barth wrote:
“If we fix our eyes upon the place
where the course of the world reaches its lowest point,
where its vanity is unmistakable,
where its groanings are most bitter, and
where the divine incognito most impenetrable,
……. We shall Encounter Here – Jesus Christ ……..
The transformation of all things occurs where the riddle of human life reaches its culminating point. The hope of His glory emerges for us when nothing but the existentiality of God remains, and He becomes to us the veritable and living God. He, whom we can apprehend only as against us, stands there – for us.
I realize all the skeptical question marks – ??? – that had been raised over Jeremiah’s (and also our lives) are turned to affirmative exclamation marks -!!! – All question marks are turning into exclamation marks!! All uncertainties turn into wonders!! All speculations turn into realizations! He got down and washed the disciples’ feet. We washed each other’s feet almost a year ago. The commitment and the vow to serve one another, to serve others, especially to serve the least of these amongst us, often times, He is in His distressing disguise in the least of these!!
If this ought to serve a pointed nib to keep me on track when I am in the thicket of questions, fear and doubt, and most of all, the unwilling, so be it!! The Lord reminds me that seeking Him on this journey is not going to be easy, convenient or cheap. It is going to be out of our way, outragously inconvenient, and costly!! Quoting one anointed writer,
Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God? Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? I called you to live at your best, your utmost best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellance.
If you are already fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic mediocrities, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence? Are you going to shuffle along with the crowd, or run with the horses? There will be retreats from excellence, veerings away from risks, withdrawals from faith. It sounds easy, doesn’t it??
It is easier to define oneself minimally and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally and live adventurously in that reality!!!
Easier, but not better. Easier, but not more significant. Easier, but not more fulfilling.
“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 bythe Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5