Asking or Doing


“If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?” – Jeremiah 12:1-13

Jeremiah has come to God full of earnest questions and feelings about the unfairness in the world. “How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? Because of the wickedness of those who live in it even the animals and birds are swept away…”

People come to me with questions like these all the time, and when they do, I sit with them at length, brow furrowed, nodding sympathetically and listening deeply to their experience of suffering in this vale of tears.

God, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have time for all that touchy-feely stuff. “Nobody wants to hear your whining, Jeremiah,” God says. “Instead of asking all these questions, why don’t you put on your big boy underpants and get ready for life?” Not very empathetic, but I for one think it may be good tonic for those of us who sometimes spend a little too much time feeling feelings instead of doing deeds.

I’m not saying that talking about our stuff isn’t important. But I am pretty sure that God didn’t choose a people, lead us out of bondage, save us in the desert, incarnate as one of us, get crucified, and resurrect himself in order to help us process our feelings.

Jesus said, “You ought always to pray and not to faint.” Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger women and men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, but for power equal to your tasks. Then, the doing of your work will be no miracle – YOU will be the miracle, and every day you will wonder at yourself and the richness of life that has come to you by the grace of God. Amen.

Grace and Peace

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