Image credit: Andrei Robu
We’ve all been there. Rapid-fire rejection. Unrelenting criticism.
We find ourselves with our backs to the wall. Our nights spent staring at the ceiling. Curled into a ball on the couch. Our hearts wanting to jump out of our chest.
We beg for it to end. But we know that as the sun rises it may only get worse. Darkness as the noonday demon.
Our Persecution Is Mild
Some have to look over their shoulders as they hustle down an alley, dart through the traffic and duck through a door–then a curtain–so they can join a small group of believers to study the Bible in a basement.
Some are more bold to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ on the street corner. This will land them in a jail cell or hospital room. Sometimes a grave.
His Persecution Was Tough
Jeremiah was lashed forty times, and then thrown in a stockade: his hands, feet and neck fastened in holes. His body contorted by the position. The pain excruciating. It’s no surprise that he cried out:
For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the Lord has resulted in reproach and derision all day long. Jeremiah 20:8
Most of us won’t experience that sort of torment or ridicule for our witness. Still, there are circumstances in which we entertain the idea of quitting as we fight against surges of dejection.
We might curse the day of our birth. Wish black gloom claim it. The Lord above not care for it. Jeremiah went as far as to say, “I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name.”
That was short-lived.
The Burden Worse Than Persecution
In the next breath Jeremiah said, “Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).
Did you catch that? The emotional hurt of relentless derision, chronic pain of the stockades and the spiritual desperation that he’d been abandoned by God was something he could endure.
What he couldn’t endure was the torture and shame of NOT speaking the truth of God. It was like being burned from the inside out. That was too much to bear.
Have you ever been so depressed from persecution and rejection that you swore it wasn’t worth it? That in a year of falling apart you felt like throwing in the towel? But in the end you knew that there was no way possible? That you, like Paul, said “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel”?
Share your thoughts. Brutal and all.
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