03 Jan Things To Keep In Mind When Desperate
Prolonged waiting and fear of an unknown future can render us desperate. We can feel an urgent need and desire for answers and to be rescued. We tend to go into self-preservation or self-advancement mode. We may say and do anything to improve our plight.
It’s been awhile since I read the entire book of Jeremiah. As I reread it, I initially grew excited when the people who remained after the fall of Jerusalem asked Jeremiah to petition God on their behalf and promised, “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God” (Jeremiah 42:6). All the while, God knew the people’s hearts and their true motivations. Amid their desperation, they made an empty promise to obey God. Despite God’s instructions to neither be afraid of the king of Babylon nor proceed to Egypt, and an explanation of consequences if they failed to obey, the people didn’t listen.
When desperate, we must be careful what we say and avoid making false vows to God. (We should also be careful not to make false promises to people.) Our desperate pleas cannot successfully stand as a guise for true devotion and commitment to the all-knowing God. Like Jeremiah told the people as he delivered The Lord’s response, “you have only deceived yourselves” (Jeremiah 42:20). We can learn from the account described in Jeremiah 42-43. Rather than speaking recklessly and half-heartedly, here’s what we should do when desperate.
- Be driven by repentance and reverence. The people didn’t acknowledge why the nation was in its current predicament. They simply wanted protection, and wanted things to go better for them moving forward. An unchanged heart and lack of sincere devotion to God will prevent us from following through on a momentary, self-centered driven since of commitment. Before seeking physical or material help, ask God to change your heart.
- Trust God rather than give into fear. Despite God’s promise of deliverance and restoration, the people feared mankind. They ignored God’s proven character and faithfulness. When God makes a promise, He has the power and intention to keep it. Trust God to deliver.
- Esteem godly counsel above human reasoning. We acquire knowledge of God’s will through Scripture and prayer. Additionally, we acquire godly counsel and instruction through God’s servants. These are Christ-followers known for their faithfulness and devotion to God. The people went to Jeremiah because they knew he had a relationship with God, and that God spoke to him. Rather than heeding God’s instructions proclaimed by Jeremiah, the people listened to “arrogant men.” We must follow the counsel of Scripture and the counsel of those who faithfully seek and obey God.
- Obey God. God’s instructions may not be what we want to hear, nor immediately appease our longings. Moreover, obeying God may not remove all obstacles. Nevertheless, obedience ensures a better overall outcome.
When facing seemingly grim circumstances, reverently approach God with full confidence in His ability to deliver. Approach God with a heart to honor Him and His plans.