~~ Carol Brazo ~~
One of my all-time favorite Bible passages:
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.””Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
There are no accidents. There are no coincidences. Not one single person is living on this planet at this moment in time who wasn’t placed here as part of God’s plan. Each of us has a specific purpose, a particular path we are meant to walk, neither of which is necessarily easy to discern. We each have something to say, whether we do it verbally, via prose, poetry, musically, theatrically . . . We have each come into this world according to that plan for our life . . . and should leave it in the same way.
We are all equal. We are all worthy.
We are all modern-day Jeremiahs.
If you stop for a moment and ponder that thought, you will find it amazing, astounding and, perhaps, a bit overwhelming. Jeremiah did. Consider his response when the Lord told him that he was placed here in accordance with that plan. “I’m just a child! You want me to be a prophet? Are you kidding? What will I say? How? To whom?”
But the Lord was having none of it. Jeremiah was here for a reason, a purpose, and there was no way he could escape.
I know from personal experience what it means to be like Jeremiah, as I’ve shared in my previous entries in this series. I have had first-hand experience with that feeling of “I can’t” and having God show me in no uncertain terms that he isn’t accepting my lame excuses, my cop-outs. Bluntly, I have been kicked in the hind quarter by the Holy Spirit more than once.
Along with the responsibility to be obedient when we realize that we have been called to a specific task or to achieve a particular goal, is the confidence that we will not be abandoned or left to our own inadequate devices. We must say what the Lord commands us to say, knowing that he will “rescue” us when we falter. In fact, the Lord told Jeremiah that he put the words in his mouth, so he had better get busy. He provided him with the tools and equipment he needed to get the job done.
It is time to share an experience that I had while arguing a dispositive motion in the trial court related to Conservatorship of Wendland. It was a “Jeremiah moment” that I shall never forget and the combination of this week’s quote and the persistent reappearance in my conscious thoughts of the above-quoted Scripture compels me to the conclusion that now is the time to write about it.
I was not feeling particularly eloquent that day. I was tired from the long trial that seemed destined never to end. And I was not looking forward to having to engage in the oral argument that lay ahead of me, but I knew that I had to get through it somehow. By then, I knew that I had surely been called to handle the case.
So the time came and I launched into my planned oral argument. But after a few moments, I realized that I was no longer speaking.
Oh, my lips were moving and words were coming out of my mouth. But I wasn’t putting them there. It was quite literally like going into an arcade and turning the steering wheel on one of those race car games before you put the quarter in: There is an image of a car careening around the track, but no matter which direction you turn the steering wheel, the vehicle does not respond to your commands.
What was really interesting about this experience was that I did not become fearful or panic. When I realized what was happening — the Holy Spirit was speaking through me and it felt like an out-of-body experience — I was very calm and had a great feeling of peace. After all, I had no choice, but to simply “go with it” until such time as the Spirit had said what it needed the judge to hear.
And the judge was looking at me intently throughout the argument. I have never had an opportunity to talk to him about this, but I know that he is a Christian and I have always believe that on some level — probably unconscious — he knew who was speaking to him that day in the courtroom. He never looked away from me, never shifted in his seat, never cleared his throat, . . . he sat focused on my words alone until I finished speaking. Other than the sound of my voice, there was absolute silence in that courtroom.
One of my then-pastors was there that day, immersed, along with my other supporters in the courtroom, in prayer as I argued.
Leaving the courtroom, I told him, “You have to hear what just happened to me.”
He smiled knowingly and assured me that he had, from time to time, experienced while preaching the exact phenomenon I described to him.
When I feel discouraged, frustrated or in search of meaning or context in my various activities, I think back to that day in the courtroom and that tangible manifestation of the Lord’s steadfast guidance. I think of Jeremiah and how he was purposefully called to speak, to proclaim.
My worth, like Jeremiah’s — and every other person’s — was determined by the fact of my birth and the path laid before me. In order to live up to our birthright, we must come to an understanding and appreciation of our calling, our destiny. Acknowledgment of and thanksgiving for the fact that we will be delivered from our own humanity empowers us to live in accordance with the Lord’s plan and speak with conviction, integrity and validity.
If we are faithful, our words can indeed bring kindness, comfort and yes, even holiness into someone else’s life.