Read Jeremiah 38:4-6 with me:
"Then the officials said to the king, 'This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in the city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.'
'He is in your hands,' King Zedekiah answered. 'The king can do nothing to oppose you.'
So they took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern of Malkijah, the king's son, which was the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud."
I was pointed to this portion of Scripture through this bible study I just started called "Jeremiah Daring to Hope in an Unstable World" by Melissa Spoelstra. I started thinking of how when we follow the Lord how troubles arise. Jeremiah had it rough. He was thrown into prison we read about in chapter 37 and here we read about him being thrown into the cistern.
Who do we most relate to? Are you more like Jeremiah following the Lord sinking into the mud or are you the one who is cistern throwing? If you relate to Jeremiah, hold on - help is on the way. If you relate to the cistern thrower, why?
"They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud."
How do we respond when others do something we least expect and throw us down a cistern? Do you just sink, into the mud? Perhaps their actions are so shocking we can't respond any other way than to sink in the mud. 'There can not possibly be any good to this,' we say. We curl up in it. Perhaps we take it a step further and become dramatic swimming in it, apply some mud to our face to provide some evidence we have indeed been muddied. 'Brother/Sister, would you just look, can you believe what they have done?' Perhaps you want to scoop some mud up and muddy them back. 'How dare you!' 'Traitor!'
What do you think was Jeremiah's response? I know if I had been following God and speaking truth, it would hurt me that they would see it that way. When it's happened to you, there's no doubt it stings. I am not making the hurt any less by saying we can get dramatic or that we can curl up in it as I myself have been in the mud a time or two. As perhaps you read in my last writing, while not completely comparable, there are some real things in my own life I'm going through.
Here's the thing. There is going to be mud. It's a fact of life and most certainly a part of the Christian life. If you follow Jesus, you will get muddy. People hurt us because they are hurting. Sometimes it comes from people we expect it from the least. But when it gets muddy and things don't seem to add up or make real good sense, we who follow Jesus know where our hope comes from.
God will show up for you in your situation just as he showed up for Jeremiah. Continue to read chapter 38 to find out how God came through for him. It doesn't end in the bottom of a cistern sinking in mud. The Lord Himself will pull you out when you get thrown into those pits. All you need to do is call His name. He hears you. He is there with you. Whether you are a Jeremiah or a cistern thrower, the mud is not too deep for Him. He will rescue. He can and will lift you out, wash you off, and set you back on solid ground.
And I just have faith that if the Lord becomes the Lord between the two (in time), the Jeremiahs and the cistern throwers can be friends.