Poor Jeremiah. Things are really going badly for him. Modern psychologists might suggest he is depressed. His life is simply not turning out like he intended. Perhaps he thought that when he accepted the call of God everything would be very easy. Say yes to God and become a hero lauded by all. But, as we hear the words he speaks today, he is far from universally being accepted. He sounds like he is literally at the end of his rope.
Perhaps you have had a similar time in your life, where it seems like there is nothing good around you, and you have the feeling that things will never, ever get better again. Such is a very dark place to be.
So often, when we find our selves in such a place, we are challenged to a new way of seeing. Whether that is in seeking out the legitimate work of a psychological professional, the wise counsel of a holy spiritual director, or the time we spend in private and communal prayer seeking to hear the voice of God deep within us, the path to healing is usually one where we are challenged to see things differently.
Such is the case with Jeremiah. In Jeremiah’s own words we hear that his preaching has been filled with indignation, anger, so consuming him he cannot sit with merry makers, but rather finds himself alone.
It is interesting that when God speaks to Jeremiah, it is not those to whom he preaches that the call to change is given, but rather, it is to Jeremiah himself. How easy is it to blame our problems on others? “If only that co-worker was not so mean to me.” “If only my boss would see things rightly, like me.” “If only those Republicans would only stop blocking good legislation.” “If only those Democrats would stop wasting my money.” Whatever the view, it is often much easier to look outside of myself when I am unhappy, rather than seeking to look to God to heal my own sinfulness.
For, while we may not always see it, the spiritual life is a treasure that deserves our undivided quest to imitate Jesus in all we do. To “sell” those aspects of our life that do not lead to a better self, more like Jesus, and to “buy” the field in our hearts ready to bear abundant fruit because of how God will transform our lives.