As I sat on my bed one day, a couple of weeks ago, pondering some things, a passage of Scripture—that blew my mind upon my initial reading of it some years ago—came to mind (as it does sometimes). In that passage, a man of God’s longing for something outside of the will of God for his life is revealed, and we also find God’s response to it there. Who is the man in question? His name is Baruch (buh-rook), and he’s a scribe to Jeremiah, the prophet. Follow me to Jeremiah chapter 45, to hear Baruch’s complaint and God’s response.
→ → →
Through God’s words here, spoken by Jeremiah, we see that Baruch had some complaints about the way his life was turning out. He complained (as we see in verse 3), “Woe is me! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.” So we see here Baruch charging God with adding sorrow to a life he deemed painful enough.
Being the scribe of Jeremiah, who was highly persecuted and ostracized for speaking the truth of God, Baruch, it is said, felt the difficulties of Jeremiah’s life and longed for what he deemed “better” (maybe for a career and success). But, was that in God’s plan for his life? We find God’s answer in verses 4-5. There, God says, “Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up—that is, the whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the LORD. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.”
Baruch’s shoulders may have slumped a bit upon hearing the hard truth that what he sought wouldn’t come into fruition, but it was a truth that would stand, nonetheless.
Sometimes we, like Baruch, desire things that are outside of God’s plan for our lives, like worldly success. We are groomed from our youths to “be somebody,” to “take the world by storm,” to “be a success,” and never to “consider that God’s plan may include some otherness,” which has absolutely nothing to do with the plans and/or timetables we’ve established for ourselves (or that others have established for us). … And this can make the pill—the hard truth that God’s plan is totally different from ours—hard to swallow.
However, unlike what was/is taught to us, God is the Potter (the Master); we are the clay (it’s never the other way around). Those outside of Him may conform to their own way and seem as if they’re “winning” (nevertheless, see Psalm 37); but we who profess to know Him aren’t to conform to our own way or the ways and principles of this world in an effort to “win,” or to do anything. We are to conform to the standards of Christ (which results in the true and ultimate win!).
This world, sisters, is not our home. Therefore, we aren’t to entangle ourselves with the happenings of it.
Can God establish us in different places in this world for His glory? Yes. Should being established in this (crumbling) world be our hearts’ sole desire? No. We are to keep our focus on Christ, following His blueprint for our lives. And yes, that blueprint will include pain, suffering, discomfort, hardship, persecution (cf. Philippians 1:29). But we know that it doesn’t mean we’re any less blessed, as the world would claim (Baruch’s name actually means blessed), and that it’s all working together for our good and the Father’s glory…
So, we rest!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18