Jeremiah 20:18: “Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, / That my days should be consumed with shame?”

July 18th, 2021 by Pastor Ed in devotional

The theme of lamenting one’s birth because of the darkness of the days was a familiar one for Jeremiah and many of the prophets throughout the Old Testament. Jeremiah was depressed, discouraged, and ready to give up. Every honest believer who came before him and who has came since him, will quickly admit to similar moments in their own lives. We should not be surprised when we are tempted to become discouraged since it happens to even the best men and women of God. Jeremiah was overwhelmed because he was trying to do the right thing in a generation of people going the wrong way. He was standing against a flood of sin. So what did God expect Jeremiah, and every other believer who tries to walk according to God’s ways in a deteriorating society, to do? He wanted him to fight-on, faithfully leaning completely on His power and direction. We notice that God did not rebuke Jeremiah for being tired, but neither did He allow him to stop serving because he was opposed.

We can learn much about perseverance from some faithful missionaries of the 19th century. We read that it was 7 years before William Carey baptized his first convert in India. It was 7 years before Adoniram Taylor won his first disciple in Burma. And it was 7 years before Robert Morrison saw the first person came to salvation in China. We are just to keep on keeping on, trusting that God will lead us all the way home.

John Stephen Akhwari represented the country of Tanzania in the 1968 Olympic marathon race in Mexico City. He finished last—57th out of 57—19 minutes behind the person who finished 56th. He had fallen early on in the race and was injured, but he pushed on. When he entered the stadium, his leg was bandaged and it was obvious with every step that he was in pain. After he hobbled across the finish line, he was asked why he endured the pain, when he had no chance of winning. He said simply, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

“LORD, thank You that You have called us and saved us, not to just start the race but to finish it well with You.”