Then said I: “Ah Lord God! Behold I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth’, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. – Jeremiah 1:6-8
While we don’t know Jeremiah’s exact age at the time of his call into prophetic ministry, we do know that he was a young man. This is precisely the reason he gave to God for his inability to fulfill the call.
I cannot speak
I am a youth
Do not say “I am a youth”
This made me laugh, because God says nothing whatsoever to refute his admission that he is unable to speak. He didn’t try to build up Jeremiah’s confidence in his ability or his gifting. He also doesn’t seem to give Jeremiah any options for refusing – “for you shall go”, and “you shall speak”.
I don’t like to do things that I don’t feel comfortable that I have the ability to do. I guess most people don’t. Jeremiah didn’t either. But the Lord’s answer for Jeremiah was not to send him to the Anathoth School of the Prophets for a 4 year training program. His answer was “I am with you.”
How we underestimate this phrase! I think that we often prefer to gain confidence in our own abilities rather than to place our confidence in the abiding presence of God as sufficient for us in all of our insufficiencies.
Isn’t it wonderful that the promised presence of God is sufficient for every task, for every situation, for every difficulty? What wonderful rest that brings to the soul that trusts Him.