It has been a week of slow recovery. Rarely do I get sick. This last week has been one of the most brutal chest infections ever in my life. I thought it was just a cold, but it kept getting worse and worse. But when Sunday rolled around and I felt remarkably better, I pressed on to Duncan to preach. It took a little more out of me than I counted on, and as the drive back to OKC wore on I thought maybe my decision-making was not up to snuff.
“Slow, Matt. Rest. Lots of fluids. More rest.” I keep telling myself. But do I listen? Sometimes I’m like an obstinate little child who doesn’t even listen to reason. And it’s my own reasoning!
When I opened up the Jeremiah text, with people on the move, I almost got light-headed all over again. Of course theirs is a completely different context. Instead Jeremiah provides a lengthy sermon rebuking those Jews who fled to Egypt and left those in Israel high and dry. And now Jerusalem has fallen, and he implicates everyone in the disaster. He certainly was given harsh words to convey.
Firm, sometimes even harsh words are something that are common in the lies of youngsters, as they learn the boundaries of their lives (i.e. where they can and cannot go, what they can and cannot touch). And so when I read Jeremiah sometimes I think he was dealing with a bunch of children. And perhaps in many ways we all are.
We are all at the beginning of our faith, and in the eyes of God, we are probably like little children. Luckily we have a God who has patience, and whose way is always mercy.
This we learn most clearly as we see the Old Testament stories unfold – time and time again the people are given other chances. And they are given the voices of the prophets to reprove and correct them.
Glory be to God, for the gift of mercy, and at times, the gift of harsh words, which keep us on the straight and narrow.
In the meantime, I am going to ease into this week, and try to listen to God and my body a little better.