Have you ever felt conflicted about God’s role in your circumstances? We see that Jeremiah is disappointed in constantly bearing terrible news of judgement (Jeremiah 20:8). Still, Jeremiah cannot help but proclaim God’s words; in fact, he cannot hold them in (Jeremiah 20:9). Jeremiah recognizes that neighbors are against him, while God is for him. This leads Jeremiah to praise God, but only for one verse of song. Jeremiah ends our reading cursing the day he was born and the person who announced his birth. This back and forth of emotions, thoughts, and evaluations leaves the reader confused as to what to make out of Jeremiah’s raw and sporadic expressions.
Jeremiah, like the book of Psalms, provides us with words and a range of feelings which we can appropriate in our times of distress, mixed with worship, alloyed with depression. We all know that kind of experience, when life seems to toss us around like a shirt in a dryer. Jeremiah is beloved by God and faithful, but that does not exempt him from the chaos of our world.
Jeremiah shows us that when in chaos, we must stay our minds on the King of peace. Even if we can only sing one verse in worship, that can be sufficient solace in those days when we wish we had never been born. Even if we don’t like to admit it, those days come, and may God use the scriptures to ready us for such times.