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.Jeremiah 1:4-5
Is it not remarkable that when God began to talk to this young man and send him to his ministry, the first thing he did was to sit down and share with him that,
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Is not that what he is saying? This is the preparation of God. The remarkable thing is that this preparation began long before Jeremiah was even conceived. In other words, God said,
I started getting you ready, and the world ready for you, long before you were born. I worked through your father and your mother, your grandfathers and grandmothers, your great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers. For generations back I have been preparing you. What a remarkable revelation to this young man — that through the generations of the past God had begun to work!
When people face a crisis, they always start looking for a program, some method with which to attack the crisis. When God sets out to solve a crisis, he almost always starts with a baby. All the babies God sends into the world, who look so innocent and so helpless — and so useless — at their birth, have enormous potential. There is nothing very impressive in appearance about a baby, but that is God's way of changing the world. That is what God said to Jeremiah:
I've been working before you were born to prepare you to be a prophet, working through your father and your mother, and those who were before them.
If you read this account as though this were something extraordinary which applied only to Jeremiah the prophet, you have misread this whole passage. I often hear people say of some noted person,
When God made him, he broke the mold. That is true, but what we fail to see is that this is true of each one of us. God never made another one like you, and he never will. God never made anyone else who can fill the place you can fill and do the things you can do. This is the wonder of the way God forms human life — that of the billions upon billions who have been spawned upon this earth there are no duplicates. Each one is unique, prepared of God for the time in which he is to live. That is the word which came to Jeremiah, to strengthen him.
Look, God said,
I have prepared you for this very hour, as he has prepared you and me for this time, for this world, for this hour of human history.
I heard this week a story concerning the death of a young man, a pastor. When he was dying of cancer, his father and uncle, who are twin brothers, came to see him. After visiting with them both a short while, he asked his uncle,
Would you mind if I talk to my Dad alone? His uncle was glad to wait in the hall. When his father came out, he said to his brother,
I want to tell you what David did while we were alone. He called me over to his bed and said,
Can I put my arms around you? I stooped over as best I could and let him put his arms around me.
And now, Dad, would you put your arms around me? I could hardly keep control of my emotions, but I put my arms around him. Then, with his arms around me, he said,
Dad, I just want you to know that the greatest gift God ever gave me, outside of salvation itself, was the gift of a father and mother who love God and taught me to love him, too.
That is what God is saying to Jeremiah.
What a gift you have! How I have prepared you for this moment, through the generations which lie behind you, that you might live and speak and act in this time in history.
Thank you, Father, that you created me special for a unique purpose on earth. Help me to fulfill your purpose for my life.
Do we measure our life's significance by worldly approval? Are we committed to following the path of God's individual choosing? Are we training our children to seek God's individual direction for their lives?