Praying Hard

From this: "Ah Lord God! behold, Thou hast made the Heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee."

To this: "Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:17, 26-27)

Pray, see

But first! A little backstory and context. The verses between the two above statements are Jeremiah testifying to the greatness and grandeur of God. Jeremiah draws a precis on God's character and His works. He cites the fact that the children of Israel couldn't do what they were asked by God. Even in spite of having received the blessing of a new land in which to live and stretch their legs: "And they came in, and possessed it; but thy obeyed not Thy voice, neither walked in Thy law; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do: therefore Thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them:" (32:23, emphasis mine) At present, Jeremiah is imprisoned for speaking out a prophecy that condemned the current King of Judah. Zedekiah didn't like what he heard from Jeremiah and so he locks him away. A hard word to be sure but wouldn't you want to know if bad stuff and bad news was on the way? I suppose it all depends upon how deep one is in the tangled forest of their own bad decisions. Sometimes, our hearts get so hard for lack of maintenance that any attempt by God to steer us around is met with harshness and our turning away.

"For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save out God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect." (Psalm 18:31-32)

The question, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Is somewhat rhetorical. It certainly is when asked by God at the end of the passage in Jeremiah. Jeremiah proclaims and God answers. And the answer is no. No circumstance, no relationship, no confusing malady of heart or mind or body is too hard for God to overcome. But it depends on our believing it. Another way of wording the question while maintaining that word would be: "How hard do our hearts have to be before we see how easy everything is for God?" When Jesus tells the disciples to "lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." (John 4:35), He's only calling it like He sees it. God sees just the right combination of events and actions and thoughts and deeds to bring someone, provided all key players were in place, back to Him through Jesus. It's not that hard.

"I have seen an end of all perfection: but Thy commandment is exceeding broad." (Psalm 119:96)

Pray, tell

I love this declaration of the psalmist. They had so soaked in the desire to see God in the details but yet hadn't outstrode the beauty of God's word in lining out the way to go. Jeremiah cites "not walk[ing] in Thy law" as one of the reasons Babylon was allowed to encamp and encroach upon Jerusalem. Real quick: It would seem God wanted Jeremiah to do one thing prior to his imprisonment. He says in verse eight, "buy it for thyself". This act--of purchasing a field that was rightfully his--says Jeremiah a few verses down, is like a symbolic downpayment on the forthcoming fruitfulness that God promises His people. That is, after they work through the rollercoaster, mountain/valley paradigm of gaining and then losing the blessing. See, there will be a generation that gets it right. One of the things Jeremiah says about God in the verses between the statements is about how not only does God show "lovingkindnesses unto thousands" but that He also "recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them" (32:18). This is referring to generational curses that continue unabated without supernatural intervention. But as Jesus effectively cut off the need to look to ancestry as a means of substantiation, we all can look to God to deal with the hard questions and issues of our lives--for ourselves. I digress.

Jeremiah is still in prison at the end of chapter thirty-two. The next chapter opens very simply, like this.

"Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is His name;" (33:2)

Before we go any further, I don't know how much time Jeremiah spent in prison. I don't know what it felt like or how miserable and boring it could've been there. There have been times in my life where I've been so insulated from others in spite of living and moving around them, that I felt inconsolably alone and a loner. But this is a rare place to be and a highly valuable one in God's estimation I should say. As he sees things from a perfect vantage point, we'd do well to get His opinion on the wide-angle. The crowd that was present for the signing of the papers that proved Jeremiah's ownership of the field had since dispersed and things have died down. But God is about ready to speak again to Jeremiah. You see, he had fulfilled a few--but very important--things in God's eyes. And so God checks these things off His list and speaks again:

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (33:3)

One of the most amazing promises ever delivered to an individual. It's yours, too.