When you feel lost, remember the time in which you were first found by God.
Today, many Christians feel lost. The world feels new and scary. This feeling of disorientation – personal, cultural – is nothing new for God’s people. The Prophet Jerimiah knew this feeling well. He was living in a time of cultural upheaval and societal injustice. Personally, he felt betrayed and isolated – he never married because God told him not to. Life didn’t seem fair, and he felt lost.
And so, he goes back to the last place he didn’t feel lost at as we see in vs. 16.
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.
Those first readers of Jerimiah would have immediately known what the phrase, “Your words were found” was referring to.
In the not-so-distant memory, about 60 years earlier, Judah had its last good king: Josiah. You may remember what made him great. When he came to power, God’s word had been lost and forgotten. In 2 Kings 22, we see that his assistant – Jerimiah’s father! – stumbles upon God’s word quite by accident. But when it’s read, it revolutionizes the king, and all of Judah. It leads to great, though incomplete, societal reform as they seek to model themselves after God’s good, freshly found, word.
What happened at the macro level to Judah happened at a micro level to Jerimiah personally when he discovered God’s word. What happened to Josiah and Judah is still happening to people who find God’s word today. It called him. It commissioned him. It gave him meaning and dignity and purpose.
But it’s really only a half-truth to say that Jerimiah found God’s word. In every important way, God’s word found him. Turn to Jerimiah chapter 1 vs. 4:
Jer 1: 4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Long before he was a was prophet, long before, indeed, he was born, God was searching for him. Ephesians 1 tells us that that is the case for every believer. Even before the creation of the world, you were chosen. God predestined you for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ. Your spiritual journey isn’t of some passing interest to God. In his grace, he pursues you. As the late Catholic priest John Francis O’Conor described it:
“As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and steady pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.”
If you feel lost and distant from God, remember that he is the one who found you in the first place. His pursuit of you is unending, as is his love.
Pastor for Faith Formation at All Saints Anglican Church in Downtown Dallas, TX.