Does that verse encourage you or discourage you?
When I read that verse yesterday I was initially encouraged. Of course, I will admit it was of a superficial nature. I simply pictured how awesome it would be to be able to run with horses and keep up. I might have actually let my mind go to the open plains of the West and pictured myself running full speed in the midst of a pack of wild stallions. And maybe there were even a couple of fences that I came across and masterfully soared over in full gallop. I said maybe.
As I processed the verse more, I realized I was becoming discouraged by it too though. I realized what God was really saying to Jeremiah in it. I encourage you to read the back story in earlier versus, but essentially Jeremiah has complained to God because he was tired of dealing with a situation that wasn’t giving him the results he wanted. To paraphrase how God is responding he is saying “Wait a minute. If you are going to complain about dealing with these issues while you are in your comfort zone, how the heck do you expect to endure through the challenges to come when I put you in a real situation? If you want to chase after me, you are going to need to man up.”
As you can imagine for someone about to leave their comfort zone and enter into cross-cultural ministry I might have read into it that tough times loom ahead. Our family is certain to be heading into some tough times as we learn to adjust to a new culture, how to deal with tough spiritual issues and the many other things this will bring.
But more thought on it brings me back to the encouragement in knowing that God has awesome and amazing things in His plan for us. Not just for Elder family in this journey, but for all of us as followers of Him. He never promises us that any of it will be easy. He does put things before us to prepare us and develop us into the people He needs us to be for those, and future, situations. And He does expect us to be obedient in what He places in front of us and stay true to the knowledge and faith of who He is. We should all be encouraged in knowing that greater challenges are to come because that means greater victories are certain to follow.