by Rebecca George
Lessons from the Life of Jeremiah
Six years ago this coming August (2011), Hurr icane Katrina began her lethal trek toward the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When all was said and done, nearly 1,900 people lost their lives, and the storm caused more than $100 billion in destruction.
Many college students in New Orleans lost everything. Students already immersed into the fall semester at other schools across the country watched hours of news coverage and wept as the city they loved was flooded, looted, and left to decay.
A Tough Calling
Residents of New Orleans weren’t the first to mourn the loss of a city. More than 2,600 years before Katrina dealt her deadly blows, a man named Jeremiah watched in horror as King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians wreaked havoc on the city of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah grew up in an influential religious family right outside Jerusalem. God called him early in his life to speak truth to the people around him, and with that calling came some pretty harsh realities. Jeremiah was forbidden to marry, he was tortured in stocks like a medieval prisoner, and he was accused of treason and left in a pit to die. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the Babylonians gave Jeremiah the choice of going with them to Babylon or of remaining in Judah. It would’ve been a natural reaction for Jeremiah to kiss farewell to such a calling and head for the cushy life of Jerusalem’s “Wall Street.” But instead, he took the narrow road.
Radically rooted — The word “radical” comes from the Latin radix or “root.” Radical Christians aren’t easily carried away by the latest trends, but firmly grounded in the root system of Christianity, ready to withstand any environmental assault.
Jeremiah knew the importance of staying anchored in the midst of life’s storms. He knew that staying grounded in his faith was the only real way to affect change and fulfill the mission God had given him. And because of Jeremiah’s hardcore commitment to his calling, we can learn some solid ways to navigate life’s storms, stay on course, and serve the only Commander who has everything under control.
If you’ve ever tried to be a moral rudder for your campus, it probably makes perfect sense why Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.”
It’s not an easy assignment to be a prophet of sorts on a college campus —to be the one reminding your fraternity brothers about the way God feels about sinful decisions, or the one pointing out biblical truths about deviant lifestyles to your Sociology professor. If you’ve ever tried to be a moral rudder for your campus, it probably makes perfect sense why Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.”
Seeing the Light
Over the past six years, the city of New Orleans has undergone a renaissance. As students gave up spring breaks to gut houses and share the gospel with a ravaged and hopeless population, God began to show His purpose in the midst of suffering. Like Jeremiah, each of us can be a conduit of change. If God could take a timid boy from small-town Israel and make him a mouthpiece for the nation, imagine what He’ll do with students ready to stand for truth on campuses across our world.
Rebecca George is a native of New Orleans but has been weathering the storms —more literal than figurative —in blustery Scotland for the past three years.
Finding Benefits in Our Struggles
- SEEK SHELTER. God and His Word provide refuge and resources for the storm. He’s bigger than your struggles.
- STAY FOCUSED. There’s purpose in your struggle, and God wants you to see it.
- KEEP CONNECTED. When you struggle, you’re identifying with Christ’s suffering and the suffering of Christians around the world.
- CHOOSE JOY. Contentment has more to do with perspective than circumstance.
- HAVE HOPE. The storm won’t last forever.
- TAKE NOTES. People need to hear about God’s faithfulness during your storm.