Parents learn lessons from the most unexpected places and people. The Bible isn’t one of those places, but some of the Bible’s principal people may well be. Jeremiah, for example. Jeremiah?
Does God have a purpose for children from the beginning, even before birth? For Jeremiah, that was the case. The account of Jeremiah begins with one of the most moving childbirth statements in all of scripture: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart: I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV)
Although this revelation is almost breathtaking, Jeremiah never warmed to God’s call. He prophesied during one of Israel’s lowest points. He spoke of Israel’s wickedness. Jeremiah was despised. He let God know he wanted out.
Jeremiah teaches (perhaps troubling at first blush) that it’s okay to argue with God. Jeremiah argued pointedly. His relationship with God was streaked with regular quarrels. But arguing with God preserves one’s connection with God and helps discern His will. What do parents teach children on this point?
God’ purpose for Jeremiah was unenjoyable — period. God’s call to Jeremiah resulted in decades of rejection, harassment, and depression, yet Jeremiah continued prophesying. Why?
The answer may lie in God’s powerful declaration as part of His call: “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say… whatever I command you…Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand…against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you…but I am with you…” (Jeremiah 1:17-19)
How do parents prepare children for life’s difficulties? By telling them while still in the womb: “Get ready. God has plans for you. He will make you strong and always be with you.”