Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? Jeremiah 20:18
Drew had been imprisoned for two years because he served Jesus. He’d read stories of missionaries who felt constant joy throughout their incarceration, but he confessed this was not his experience. He told his wife that God had picked the wrong man to suffer for Him. She replied, “No. I think maybe He picked the right man. This was not an accident.”
Drew could likely relate to the prophet Jeremiah, who had faithfully served God by warning Judah that God would punish them for their sins. But God’s judgment hadn’t fallen yet, and Judah’s leaders beat Jeremiah and put him in stocks. Jeremiah blamed God: “You deceived me, Lord” (Jeremiah 20:7). The prophet believed God had failed to deliver. His word had only “brought [him] insult and reproach all day long” (v. 8). “Cursed be the day I was born!” Jeremiah said. “Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” (vv. 14, 18).
Eventually Drew was released, but through his ordeal he began to understand that perhaps God chose him—much like He chose Jeremiah—because he was weak. If he and Jeremiah had been naturally strong, they might have received some of the praise for their success. But if they were naturally weak, all the glory for their perseverance would go to God (1 Corinthians 1:26–31). His frailty made him the perfect person for Jesus to use.
Where do you feel particularly weak? How might you turn your weakness into a significant spiritual advantage?
Jesus, Your power is made visible in my weakness. I confess my failings so I can boast in You!
In Jeremiah 20, we see the raw humanity of this great prophet. God had called Jeremiah by saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Now the prophet cursed the day he was born (20:14), and wishes he’d never come out of the womb (v. 18). He felt betrayed by God, who’d promised, “I am with you and will rescue you” (1:8). God had also told him, “I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (v. 10). But in this dark moment, Jeremiah didn’t sense that power, nor could he see His rescue. Despite his personal anguish, he remained faithful and carried out the difficult mission God had given him.