But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:7-8 ESV)
As I read the story of Jeremiah, I cannot help but think of the spectrum of emotions this young prophet must have grappled with. Imagine the overwhelming sense of fear and inadequacy that surrounded this young man’s response to this call coupled with an awe-struck realization that the living God has called him as his vessel for a greater purpose…
At a young age, Jeremiah was called to serve as God’s prophet, declaring the coming of God’s judgment upon the nation of Judah. I hardly can fathom the overwhelming burden this young man must have experienced.
Like Jeremiah, God tends to call us to something greater than our pay grade. Most people feel absolutely helpless. Jeremiah wasn’t hesitant to confess his inadequacy and fear in verse 6: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
Presumably around his early 20’s, Jeremiah appeared to be inexperienced as a public speaker. He probably didn’t a lot or any experience articulating God’s words with eloquence.
But the Lord assures Jeremiah as he says, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.” God is with you. What a powerful statement! Jeremiah didn’t have to worry as God called him to speak on behalf of his boundless authority, instead of his limited human wisdom.
As a fellow twenty-something, I find myself echoing Jeremiah’s thoughts of fear and inadequacy. Over the last several years, I’ve felt a greater conviction of God’s call in my life. He beckons me to equip, empower, and transform the next generation of people and organizations into kingdom-minded influencers (aka. Salt and Light). In addition, God has change my paradigm of what true success looks like. He is teaching me to learn how to live intentionally. This conviction, however, is at times eclipsed by my sense of doubt, insecurity, and fear.
The amazing thing about God’s call is that He does not require us to depend solely on our talent and ability, but first and foremost ask us to surrender everything and rely exclusively on His empowerment. Like someone said, “God doesn’t call the qualify; he qualifies the called.” That is not to underestimate the importance of life-long learning.
As William Carey put it, all of us are “wretched, poor, and helpless worm[s]” in which we must fall on God’s kind arms. Therefore, discovering and pursuing our calling hinges on two non-negotiable factors. First, a deep sense of awareness coupled with a humble heart. Second, the courage to answer God’s call despite our lack of qualifications. The rest becomes history.