“Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.”
The older I get, the more I see the heartache of parents whose children are not living for the LORD. What I am always amazed with is when these parents continue to stand for right in spite of what their children say or do. These people just may be the greatest Christians because they didn’t let adverse circumstances change their message.
Jeremiah understood disappointment; he understood what it was like to do right and preach right only to see his circumstances get worse. The verse above is the epitome of Jeremiah’s faithfulness to the LORD. Zedekiah secretly called Jeremiah out of prison to ask, “Is there any word from the LORD?” Jeremiah could have made the message more palatable so he could be released from prison, but he spoke the truth, even though he knew he probably would have to go back to the same prison chamber. Doing right didn’t seem to pay, but he still did right in spite of how the circumstances turned out. The question you have to ask yourself is what do you do next when the circumstances don’t turn out the way you thought they should? There are three things to remember when doing right doesn’t change your circumstances.
First, you need to remember that God never promised it would be easy doing right. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” If you are serving the LORD because you believe life will get easier, your service to the LORD will be short-lived. You must remember that we are in spiritual warfare, and the Devil will not be pleased with you when you choose to serve the LORD. He will do everything in his power to get you to quit. When your circumstances don’t change, or they get worse, remember that you are in a spiritual war and that war is never easy.
Second, it doesn’t mean your message is wrong when circumstances don’t change. Just because others don’t do what you have taught them to do doesn’t mean your message was wrong. Parent, just because your children have gone the way of the world doesn’t mean that the way you trained them to live was wrong. Preacher or ministry leader, just because those you have led chose to embrace the world doesn’t mean the message was wrong. The old paths are not wrong because people choose different paths to walk. The old paths are right whether or not anyone chooses to follow you as you walk down them.
Third, your test of faithfulness is determined in disappointment. The test of how much you believe what you teach and live will be determined by what you do when you don’t see the fruit of your labors, or when those you love dearly choose to go a different way. Hebrews 11 is filled with people of faith who never saw the fruits of their labor. In fact, Hebrews 11:13 says about them, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises…” Though they didn’t receive the promise, they still embraced God’s Word. Christian, the test of your faith is not determined when it is popular, but it is determined when you live and embrace it alone. Let me encourage you to keep doing right; things may not have turned out the way you thought they should, but right is right even when doing right doesn’t change your circumstances.