Jeremiah 15:15-21 (NRSV)
Verse 15O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult. Verse 16Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. Verse 17I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation. Verse 18Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail. Verse 19Therefore thus says the Lord: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them. Verse 20And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord. Verse 21I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.
Telling God to remember, to wake up, to provide for us, or to be with us as promised is not at all outside the bounds of biblical faith. Faith is not like some mere chain of command where you don’t talk back to your commanding officer. Rather, in our covenant relationship with God, God’s people may speak freely and call on God to God-up.
Over his long forty-year career, Jeremiah seldom heard those reassuring words from God, “I am with you.” He had to cling to God’s promise given early on, when he was first called, in the face of year after year of contrary evidence and humiliating rejections—and hold God to that promise. Once in a while, like an oasis in the desert, his complaints provoked a fresh utterance of just what he needed to hear from the Lord: “I’m still here. I will save. I will deliver. I will redeem. I will make you strong like bronze.”
God, you have promised me by your Son the water that never runs out. Why then does the well still seem to run dry? Quench my thirst and revive me, so that I may indeed be your mouth in the world. Amen.