Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Oh what a comfort this verse from Jeremiah gives me! And I am hoping that it does the same for you! Anytime we wonder why things happen the way they happen, or anytime we blame ourselves for certain events or circumstances, we should remember this verse: God formed us perfectly from the time we were in our mother’s womb for the purposes He has for our lives. Even our failures are all part of the plan He has for us to become who He meant for us to become. Our seeming “failures” are lessons of life to shape us and form us in the hands of the Great Sculptor.
Jeremiah had a very challenging career. He was dismissed; people raged against him; they would not take his words seriously. To the outside observer he was nothing but a failure.
Not so fast! He is one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament! The LORD had chosen him even before he was formed in his mother’s womb. The LORD formed him, with all the genetics, and personal features, and characteristics needed for God’s pre-ordained plans. The LORD picked his parents, the location of his birth and his upbringing, so that he would end up being perfect for his calling. What Jeremiah and others saw as a failure was a smashing success from God’s perspective. Everything happened as it was meant to happen.
This does not mean that Jeremiah, the man of God, the one anointed and chosen uniquely by Him, enjoyed a life of peace. Quite to the contrary in fact: he was a man of agony and pain. So much so that he cried out to the LORD, “Why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow, so that my days have been spent in shame?” (Jer.20:18) He experienced despair and darkness. He tasted rejection and wondered whether God was there to help him. He even accused God of deception: “O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; you have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.” (Jer.20:7)
Does that sound familiar? Have you ever felt like that?
Yet, in fact God had never left him or deceived him and Jeremiah was vindicated in the end. What he had prophesied was finally fulfilled: the remnants of the people returned to their land and the nation of Israel was restored. Yes, it took seventy years, but God delivered as promised, and Jeremiah became known as one of the greatest Jewish prophets of all time.
Remember that you too were formed perfectly for your calling: “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)