So, I could write about Jeremiah’s complex feelings after the night in the stocks. I really could. There’s something about having context to this outcry against God that hits a bit deeper than similar Psalms that have been preserved without the context. And it’s different than Job, somehow, too. Maybe because Jeremiah isn’t defending himself against accusations of unrighteousness but is more screaming “I’M DOING THIS FOR YOU! SO WHERE ARE YOU?!”
I don’t know. It’s raw. It’s heavy. He wishes he’d never been born in really poetics terms.
But he still praises God. He still thanks God. He is still faithful.
I could write about that.
But I’m gonna write about something else.
I’m gonna write about the king calling for the prophet under the threat of invasion and hoping God will do one of those miracle things he likes to do and save the nation.
Like he hasn’t been warned up and down and over again that this is coming and it’s going to happen and it’s going to be bad and here’s all the reasons why.
Dude is still hoping God will save them.
Man. That is some stubborn… something. I don’t know if it’s stubborn ignorance, or stubborn positivity, or stubborn self-righteousness? I’m really not sure what kind of willful delusion that really is, where it is rooted. But there it is none-the-less.
Had he just hidden behind his good news prophets so well that Jeremiah’s message hadn’t even reached him? I find that hard to believe.
I don’t know. But it’s impressive.
It seems pretty common, though. The human ability to deny our own faults and be amazed by the consequences of our own actions is astounding. The ability to admit wrong, to feel remorse, and to make amends is one that needs to be practiced.
That first step is a real doozy, and the second, man, that second one can swamp you if you aren’t careful. People who manage the first step all right can get lost in the second, just camp right there and never move forward again. Anxiety likes to hold you up at the second step. It’s the third step you have to get to, though. It’s the third step that makes things right, gets you back where you need to be.
Sorry, I think that was a little bit of a rabbit trail, getting away from the passage a little bit. Judah never made it to admitting there was a problem, much less that it was their fault. But that’s where this reflection took me.
I’ve known a lot of people who could easily ignore that a problem even existed.
I’ve known a lot of people who could easily find anyone else to blame but themselves.
I’ve known a lot of people (and struggle here myself) who could easily get overwhelmed with guilt and shame that they can’t see a way forward.
The best people I’ve known recognize the problem, take responsibility for it, and start looking for ways to fix it.
Interpersonal. Spiritual. Practical. Whatever the problem is. Big or small. It all works the same.