When Our Obedience Comes to Naught
By Jennifer Slattery
“But if I say, ‘I will not mention His Word or speak anymore in His name,” His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
We all have a call—a unique way of serving Christ, and we’ll never find fulfillment until we do that for which we were created.
But that doesn’t mean our obedience will turn out as we expect.
When God first called me to write, I fought Him for over a year. With a shameful past, I was terrified, were I to get published, everyone would discover the mess I’d been and would reject me. Worse, I knew God was asking me to be transparent. His assignment of proclaiming His goodness, in all its fullness, would require transparency self-exposure.
So, I rationalized His promptings away, but the more I ignored His voice, the more my internal unrest grew until the urge to write became nearly unbearable. Finally, I obeyed. Because my journey to obedience felt so sacrificial, I expected phenomenal results.
When things didn’t turn out as I expected, I felt crushed and betrayed. Jeremiah’s prayer, recorded in today’s verse, indicates he felt the same. God had called him to confront the people of Judah and their ruler regarding their sin, perhaps expecting them to repent or God to keep him from harm. Neither occurred. Instead, the priest arrested Jeremiah, beat him, and publically humiliated him.
Jeremiah felt abandoned and misled. I suspect he wanted to quit, and yet, he couldn’t, because God’s call within Him held more sway then Jeremiah’s emotions.
Obedience is often hard and won’t always produce our desired outcome. Left on our own, we’re destined to fail, but here’s the thing—in Christ, we’re never left on our own. He’s continually working in us, giving us the will and passion to do what pleases Him. Our role is simple: surrender, lean hard on Him, and obey.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is a multi-published author of Hometown Healing among other titles who also writes articles, Bible studies, and devotions. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com or book her for your next women’s event.
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