I was reading this morning while doing my devotions, and I came across something I had never seen before. It was in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 12.
In this particular story, Jeremiah had been complaining to the Lord. Now mind you, in the previous chapter he had been through some pretty crazy stuff. Some people had plotted against him and had tried to kill him, but luckily the Lord granted him knowledge of what was going on, and Jeremiah nixed it in the butt…well the Lord did, actually.
A part of Jeremiahs complaint goes,
“…Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.” Jeremiah 12:1-2, NIV
But how true is this? Sometimes the wicked seem to live better lives. People so blatantly live in sin, making horrible decisions, and their lives seem perfect; yet, on the other hand, you’re doing the right things and life seems to be falling apart at every turn. We’ve all had those days to where the only thing we can manage to think is “why even bother?”
“WHY ARE THEIR LIVES BETTER?!” We ask.
People all throughout the Bible, all throughout history, really, have asked this same question. Why do those who do evil still succeed. But Jeremiah got a different answer than, “The rain falls on the just and unjust.” Even though that is true, God wanted to challenge Jeremiah in a different way here, and He wants to challenge you.
I went on a little further and read God’s response, and it was a little hard to stomach.
“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?” V.5
There is not doubt that life is hard. Challenges can seem to come from every direction and batter you at every turn. It may seem like you get over one hurdle only to crash to the ground from hitting the next. One of the hardest things not to do is compare, especially in turmoil.
God was saying to Jeremiah, “Look, I know whats been going on. I see it. But if you’re getting tire from racing with mere men, how are you ever going to be able to run against the horses.” God was essentially telling Jeremiah that he needed to get it together because the real race hadn’t even started.
Horses run for a living. Its like there thing. Some horses are so devoted, and their bodies filled with such power, they will run to their destination without stopping–for hundreds of miles. They’re muscular, often bred to race and work. To be able to compete with a horse, you’ve got to be ready to go until your heart gives out.
God knew it was hard. But he was letting Jeremiah know that he was being geared up for the big race, God had a specific call on his life and things were going to get a lot more tough. He was calling Jeremiah to compete with the horses. God wants all of us to be able to “compete with the horses.” The truth is, we go through stuff and often lament, “God I can’t handle this pain, I can’t handle this situation,” and we compare our lives to others. It’s so easy to compare, but comparison is the death of possibility. When we begin to compare, all of a sudden things don’t seem possible.
We go into situations with the mindset that we can’t do it, and then we end up doing it. How do you know your limits unless you go through the battle and come out victorious.
It’s hard to hear, but sometimes we need to bite the bullet and strap down. Suck it up, never quit, and go hard. Because I guarantee if you trust God and strive to persevere, when you come out of whatever it is you’re facing, you’ll be able to compete with the horses. Even if you have to run the race until your heart gives out, never give up.
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