“Ah, Lord God!”
I try not to read the Bible thinking that every single word is written directly to me (because, after all, the Bible was written over a span of years by various authors, and it is mere pride to believe it is written to me. It’s relevant to me, and the Bible is for me, but was not written to me) but I couldn’t help but hear these words as a conversation between myself and God, not just Jeremiah and God.
In Jeremiah chapter 1, God calls Jeremiah into his appointment as a prophet, and Jeremiah’s response is:
“Ah, Lord God!” Jeremiah goes on to say how young he is and how he’s unable to speak. In other words, he says, “Ah God, I’m insufficient. I can’t do it. I’m not well-spoken.”
Jeremiah isn’t the only one in the Bible to tout his own insufficiencies to God – Moses did it too. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”* and again, “But God, I’m not eloquent.”** and God’s answer in all three cases is this: “you’re still going.” But His response to Moses’ ineloquence is my favorite: “Who made your mouth? Wasn’t it me?”
See, I’ve spent weeks upon weeks lamenting my own insufficiencies, especially as I think about the prospect of planting a church. I keep telling God how inexperienced I am in creating a community of people, in taking leadership, in how poor I am at anticipating how people will respond to things, and how lazy I am in my own thinking. I lament it, I’m embarrassed by it, I’m ashamed of it. But I don’t think my own argument of “God, I’m insufficient” holds any weight to Him.
When I esteem my own lack of capability above the equipping grace of God, I idolize it. And I dwell on it, and worst of all, I stand still because of it. But God says this to Biblical heroes, and indeed to me, and to you, friend – Who made you, anyway? Isn’t it I, the Lord, the Almighty God? You’re capable because I say you are, not because you have some inherent quality.
After all, God “chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
(1 Corinthians 1:27-31)