5th Week of Lent
The Lord is with me. (Jeremiah 20:11)
Have you ever felt that people were out to get you? Or maybe you have felt as though someone has worked to undermine or mock you. Well, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. All three of today’s readings show heroes of the faith—Jeremiah, David, and Jesus—responding to public smearing, threats, and betrayal.
How do you respond when you find yourself in a situation like this? Do you echo Jeremiah’s plea: “O Lord of hosts … Let me witness the vengeance you take on them” (Jeremiah 20:12)? Or do you follow Jesus’ words: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:44-45)?
Place yourself in Jeremiah’s shoes. He had been given the heavy task of proclaiming prophecies concerning God’s judgment to his wayward family, friends, and countrymen (Jeremiah 4:1-4). He prayed to the Lord to have mercy, but the people repaid him with plots to kill him. Jeremiah’s prayer in today’s first reading follows the discovery of a second plot to kill him!
Although Jeremiah adds a sharp, vengeful little request in his prayer, he nonetheless exemplifies an admirable response to injustice and malice. He takes his broken heart to God. Such a sign of trust pleased the Lord deeply. He comforted Jeremiah, gave him strength for his task, and rescued him from “the power of the wicked” who were out to get him (Jeremiah 20:13).
Do you believe that you can go to your Father in just the same way? It’s true. It won’t upset him to hear your frustration. In fact, it’s much better to let it out than to keep it inside. God knows your heart, and he is always ready to give you his heart as you pour out yours to him.
As you try this open, two-way approach, you will begin to see your prayers of anger and frustration turn into prayers of compassion and mercy. Give God the time, and he will transform you!
“Father, I trust that you will be patient with me when I share my heart with you. Please hear my prayer, and teach me the way of love and forgiveness.”~WAU