“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.” — Jeremiah 1:5
Eric Liddell was one of the greatest athletes Scotland ever produced. An international rugby player, Olympic champion, and world-record-holding sprinter, he was also a man of profound spiritual conviction. He attributed his speed to the fact that God had made him fast, and he knew that God was smiling upon his athletic prowess and success. He said, “When I run, I feel his pleasure.” Eric Liddell was a born athlete.
Jeremiah was a born prophet (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah won no races and wore no victor’s crown. No smiles of victory wreathed his face. Instead, tears of anguish coursed his cheeks. Yet he, too, felt God’s pleasure when he did what he was born to do. Even in the darkest days he basked in the assurance that “the unfailing love of the Lord never ends,” and that “the Lord is my inheritance” (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Without this deep sense of divine purpose, it is unlikely that Jeremiah would have ever embarked on his life work, let alone completed it. Jeremiah’s work of announcing God’s judgment inevitably produced more cold shoulders than warm embraces. No one relishes unpopularity; everyone prefers acceptance to ostracism. But Jeremiah knew that he had been appointed for the task.
Jeremiah’s calling was one thing; his equipping was another. The Lord touched his mouth, gave him words to speak, strengthened his resolve, granted him immunity from the attacks he would face, and above all promised to stand by him to take care of him (Jeremiah 1:9-10, 18-19). Armed with such assurances, Jeremiah faced the foe and ran his race.
God calls and equips. Never the one without the other. No one would expect God to call a man to be an Olympic sprint champion while omitting to make him fast. Neither would God call a man to be a prophet without giving him words and will, courage and constancy.
Not many of us are born athletic champions, and even fewer of us are called to be prophets of doom. But we were all born for something. We are to believe, discover, and embrace it, whatever it is.
Should we initially find the calling not to our liking, we should remember that the one who calls is the one who creates. In His providence God made us just right for what He had in mind. For us to be and do something else would not be right.
Running the race set before us means knowing where we’re going. And we feel His pleasure.
For further study: Jeremiah 1:4-19
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.