Don’t Faint in the Day of Adversity
5 [But the Lord rebukes Jeremiah’s impatience, saying] If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? And if [you take to flight] in a land of peace where you feel secure, then what will you do [when you tread the tangled maze of jungle haunted by lions] in the swelling and flooding of the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5 Amplified Bible
In the first four verses of Jeremiah 12, the prophet is complaining to God because of the prosperity of the wicked. What we read above is God’s response to Jeremiah’s complaint. I thought it was unusual wording by the Lord. He is telling Jeremiah that if you get weary from running with men on foot, how will you be able to compete with horses? That is a seemingly odd question. I would not think that I should try to run with horses or that I even could race with horses. In Jr High and High School PE classes, when we had to run races, I was never the fastest. In fact I was usually in the middle of the pack. Well logically if I can’t race with most people, why would I even begin to think that I could run against horses? That is just silly and yet this is what God said.
As I wondered about that, I read another verse that same day which gave me insight. I read this from Proverbs 24:10, which says: If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.
The Lord is reminding us that if we grow faint when trouble comes, how small is our strength in Him. This is in part the message he was saying to Jeremiah. He was telling the prophet, “You are complaining because of the adversity that you see. You see trouble and you just accept that as the final word, that this is the way it going to be. You have to look ahead to the end of the matter and see that what I have promised will come to pass despite what it looks like at this moment in time. Stop looking at the moment and keep your eyes focused on me and my promises. If you do that you will see the promises overtake the situation of the moment!”
So that was my paraphrase of what God was saying to him, but that is what Jesus wants us to remember. It does not matter how things appear at this present moment, this is not the end of the matter. If you get faint at the moment that adversity arrives, your trust is too small and you are not operating in the strength of faith.
Things in your life may look discouraging or even appear hopeless, but it is not the final report and it is not the final word. The final word is His Word and His promises. When it appears (as it did to Jeremiah) that unrighteousness is advancing in your life, it is not the end of the matter and Jesus wants us to remember that we are not to grow weary. He expects more from us and we should expect more of ourselves through Him. He really does expect us to run against horses and win!
J Todd Hostetler