My personal moments of desperation have never been matters of life or death. Most of the time, it was some financial need or other personal problem that brought me to the point of despair. ‘Desperate’ originally meant to be without hope. What set of circumstances leaves you with a feeling of personal hopelessness?
Jeremiah is my favorite prophet in the Old Testament. I like Jeremiah because he is personally vulnerable about his own feelings in his dealings with God. Sometimes, he passed through periods of deep discouragement. I want to call your attention to one of those times in his life in order to help you see what God may be doing in your own.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, 3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:1-3
Jeremiah was desperate. He was being held prisoner. You may not be in jail, but you might be a prisoner of your circumstances.
Does God Know the Times of Your Life?
Does God know where you are and what you face? Does He know the timetable you face in the midst of your personal circumstances? Does God know when His people are in desperate times and desperate places and in desperate need?
Desperate times don’t always have instant solutions. Do you find yourself in desperate times?
At This Time in Your Life, What Is Your Greatest Need?
We can’t know the full extent of Jeremiah’s praying. But certainly He prayed for deliverance. However, he was still confined. God didn’t see fit, in that moment, to grant him deliverance. But he did give him what he needed most.
What was it he needed more than anything else? Jeremiah didn’t need an escape! Jeremiah didn’t need deliverance! That was his sense of what he needed, but if God had given Him that He would have missed something far more important. In that desperate place, at that desperate time, to that desperate prophet came the word of the Lord!
When you size up your personal circumstances you may say, “What I need most is to be able to pay my bills!” “What I need most is a job!” “What I need most is for God to solve my problem!” “I need deliverance! I need escape!” “I’m a desperate person, and I need God to get me out of these desperate times.” But God had a different plan for Jeremiah. Instant deliverance is not always the answer. What is the answer?
Like Jeremiah, what you need most is a word from God in the midst of your circumstances.
In fact, that may be why you are there! That may be the only place God can teach you what He wants you to know. God has a word for you in your circumstances. Your circumstances have prepared you to receive it. Are you ready to listen?
If you read this chapter, you can see the startling revelation that God gave to Jeremiah. But that word came to him while he was still confined. It didn’t deliver him! In my personal moments of desperation, it gives me great comfort to know that God knows. A word from the Lord brings comfort in desperate times. Our circumstances often shroud our vision of the God we serve. That was true as Jeremiah stood in the midst of his circumstances.
Like Jeremiah, you need a new vision of the God you serve.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying, “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name,” Jeremiah 33:1-2
The measure of your faith will always be your measure of God. You will never have a faith that is strong until you have a vision of how strong God is! God holds the worlds in place. He made all you can see. There are worlds beyond the reach of the lens of the most powerful telescope. God made all that and more! There are tiny microscopic worlds we can’t see even with our most powerful microscopes—things and processes we are yet to understand. Consider what the Bible has to say about the macro and micro scale of creation.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17
God had just said to Jeremiah in the previous chapter: Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 The God of the Bible is not God Almost. He is, and has always been, God Almighty!
Jeremiah knew that, but he lost sight of it in the midst of his circumstances. Why are you in despair? Why are you discouraged? Why do you feel hopeless? Why have you given up? Why do you doubt?
At that desperate time, in that desperate place, to that desperate person, came a word from God—an invitation from God.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, 3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you Jeremiah 33:1-3a
Like Jeremiah, you need to respond to your invitation from God.
This is not just an invitation that was extended long ago to the prophet Jeremiah! This is your invitation. This is my invitation. God extends to us the golden scepter of His grace saying, “Call to Me! You don’t need anyone else. You don’t need to look anywhere else. You don’t have to tell anyone else. Call to Me!”
That is your invitation right now! God was saying to Jeremiah: “Why are you in despair? Why are you discouraged? Why do you feel hopeless? Why have you given up? Why do you doubt? Call to Me!”
Like Jeremiah, you need to recognize your promise from God.
This is the promise God made to Jeremiah: “Call to Me, and I will answer you!” Jeremiah 33:3a
Put yourself in Jeremiah’s shoes when he heard this promise from God. He was still confined in the court of the guard! He had his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. He was deeply discouraged. He was lonely and empty and hopeless and sad. He was feeling forsaken and forgotten, confused and crushed, helpless and heartsick. Jeremiah, of all the prophets, was more prone to this than any other. And in the silence—in the darkness of his personal despair came a voice, a word, an invitation with a promise.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you!”
This is also your promise! Right now, over the noise of worry, comes the invitation of God and the promise of God: Call to Me, and I will answer you! But there is more! There were things Jeremiah couldn’t see and couldn’t know without God’s wisdom. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
Like Jeremiah, you need God’s wisdom for Your circumstances.
When I am in a moment of desperation, the one overwhelming thought that comes to mind is, “I don’t know what to do.” I can’t tell you how many times I have said that to God. “God, I don’t know what to do!” Do you think God is surprised by that?
That is exactly where Jeremiah was as he sat there confined in the court of the guard. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what was happening around him. He didn’t know how all of this was going to turn out. That is when God spoke and said: Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
There is more that you don’t know than you do know. There is more about tomorrow that you don’t know than you do know. There is more about the future that you don’t know than you do know. There is more about your circumstances that you don’t know than you do know. However, there is nothing about any of it that God doesn’t know. Whatever it is that you need to know, if you will call on God, He will tell you. He will show you.
Jeremiah needed God’s wisdom in the midst of His circumstances and so do you and so do I! Some of you are concerned about how to salvage your circumstances. Does God know how? Jeremiah needed to be reminded the God He served was mighty and awesome and wonderful! He extended to Him the golden scepter of His grace in the midst of His despair, and gave him this wonderful promise as worrisome thoughts bounced around in His brain. Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
In times of desperation, God has the wisdom you need for the moment. I wonder how many times we find ourselves in desperate circumstances, exasperating ourselves trying to figure it all out ,when God is just waiting for us to give Him the opportunity to do what only He can do?
God had a plan for Jeremiah and Jerusalem during desperate times. Does He also have a plan for you in your circumstances?
Yes, God has a plan! One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” That is God’s promise to all who will trust in Him.
The verses that follow in Jeremiah 33 outline the wonderful plan God had for His people. It was beyond anything Jeremiah could have ever asked or imagined. It included health and healing, an abundance of peace and truth, as well as restoration and cleansing. God had a plan to put back together all that was broken. He has the power to do the same for you and me. He waits for us to respond to His invitation and to claim His wonderful promise.
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh