“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?”
God wants to make His people tougher than the challenges of life. He dislikes when we complain and murmur over bad situations that may have arisen in the course of life. God ordains every negative situation in our life to strengthen us. He intends for us the same as He did for Joshua.
In Joshua 1:6-7, He encouraged Joshua: “be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
It is clear that He is after the making and shaping of our character; He wants us to have the inner strength and courage so that we can manage the challenges of life and ministry effectively.
The life of Jeremiah illustrates this fact. He was one of the prophets who have had awfully bad experiences in the ministry. Even his own people threatened his life. He prophesied the Babylonian captivity in very graphic details.
Through his prophecy, he caught the attention of Nebuchadnezzar who ordered the preservation of his life in the midst of the captivity. Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem while the rest of Israel was taken into captivity. The inner toughness required for his type of ministry is what God wanted to nurture and develop.
When the burden of ministry began to weigh heavily on him, he complained to God. At one time, he accused God of being unjust and had allowed the wicked to prosper. The wicked seem to be happy and prosperous while His own people would be taken into captivity and suffer death and destitution in a foreign land.
Jeremiah seemed to forget his calling and the inner strength and toughness required to face the mounting challenges of a renegade nation.
This entire scenario provides valuable lessons required for us today in the ministry. The burden of ministry can be very pressuring on God’s faithful servants. Many face persecution and life-threatening situations. Yet, God expects us to trust Him completely and remain strong and courageous at the same time.
In his moment of weakness and complaining, the Lord demanded a greater level of toughness from Jeremiah. The situation would not get better in the future but will become more intense. “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?”
As tough as the situation was which Jeremiah faced at the time, it could not be compared with what God knew about his future. Until then, he was running with foot soldiers in a land of peace.
The Lord was insinuating that greater challenges (running with horses) are still ahead, and he must be equipped to cope with future challenges. Sometimes we complain about insignificant issues which may be great and overwhelming. We may find it difficult to navigate around all the detours of life’s challenges.
In these challenging times, we must remind ourselves that we are not alone but rather we are plugged to God, the source of our strength and courage. We must remember God’s Words to Joshua, “be strong and of good courage”.
Let not the words of the Lord depart from your mouth, but meditate on it day and night, for therein you will have great success. The Lord further encouraged that whatever they do will prosper.
Paul Mursalin is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Fund from Guyana
Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash
For Other Articles by Paul Mursalin
In the Hands of the Potter