READING: Jeremiah 12-14, 2 Timothy 1
“My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears.”
I’m not a parent, so I’m always hesitant to talk much about parenting. I can teach what the Bible says about parenting, but I don’t usually give specific “tips” for raising children. The best I can do is talk about the young men I’ve been privileged to mentor and guide through decades of ministry – though that commitment has at times brought the tears of an older leader on behalf of his spiritual children.
Jeremiah, too, had no family (neither wife nor children, according to Jer. 16:2), forbidden by God because of coming judgment and tragedy the prophet and the people were facing. That is not to say, however, that he never experienced deep relational grief over the people of God. He was sent by God to warn them, but still he grieved when they would not listen to him: “But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock has been taken captive (Jer. 13:17). The depth of his anguish is evident in the piling up of the terms, “weep . . . weep bitterly . . . run down with tears.” He was broken over their rebellion, knowing that trouble awaited them.
I cannot fully appreciate Jeremiah’s weeping over the nation, but I can speak some about the grief a pastor feels over his wayward church members. I’m not sure, to be honest, if anyone other than a pastor can feel the weight of caring for others’ souls. None of us wants church members or mentees to make bad choices, to live in sin, and then to risk paying the price of God’s judgment. We cannot always stop that slide, however, even when we lovingly try to convince them to come to repentance and reconciliation. We simply long for them to return and stand ready to welcome them when they do.
And in the meantime, we weep.
- Ask God to give you a mentoring relationship so deep that you might grieve another person’s sin if necessary.
- Pray for someone you know that he or she might always stay faithful to God.
PRAYER: “God, I pray that ________ will remain obedient and faithful to You today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 15-17, 2 Timothy 2