all in for jesus|guest post


But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:8)


The gospel is a scary thing.


God always calls us to the uncomfortable. Abraham, leave your relationships and your career and your home, and set out. David, the time for shearing sheep has been overcome by shepherding a people. Moses, I know the agony and fear and humiliation of your princely failures and the misery of your humbled life, but it is your pain which shall lead many to a land of great promise. Ezekiel, the definition of your ministry shall be its ceaseless failure. Jeremiah, to the painful pit of your abandoned dreams I will lower your beaten body and raise your beautiful soul. Hosea, the entirety of your life in its betrayal shall be the beautiful redemption I offer and the tragic rejection I receive. Peter, how would you like to stop fishing, and start finding? Paul, out of great success and unmistakable brilliance I shall summon you to the simplicity of my cross and the wonderful shame of my sufferings.


The gospel is a scary thing.


So God says, do not be afraid of them…them. And who are they? Abraham fear not the kings around you. David you have fought the lion of the wild but do not fear the lies of man. Moses dread not the clamor of a dangerous crowd but come up to the stillness of a consuming God. Hosea let the brokenness of your marriage be redeemed by the revelation of my Word. Peter, fear not the questioning glance of a slave girl but share the gospel to a searching centurion, a vast multitude, the frightened faces of an exhausted gathering. Ezekiel, want to see some dry bones be called so no more? Paul, how would you like to go from killing others to dying for them?


The gospel is a scary thing.


Jeremiah is afraid. He is afraid because he sees not the infinite power of the gospel’s God but the inadequacies of its messenger. Ah Jeremiah, Jeremiah, says the Lord. What I have planned, pursue. I will not make you old. Moses, I will not fix your speech. Paul, I will not heal your hurts. I will conquer the fears of a frightened people not by consuming their worries with personal wonders but fixing faith on a fearless Christ.


Perhaps I will not cure your cancer. Perhaps I will not heal your marriage. Maybe I won’t save your son. Maybe making ends meet isn’t important. I might not be the God of your security. But doubtless I shall be the one of your salvation.


The gospel is a scary thing that takes us to scary places and makes us lose nice things, safe things, pleasant things, comfortable things. The gospel is scary because prior to this unspeakable redemption there is most often certain ruin. Who is called without chaos, or summoned without suffering? Was the invitation of Jesus to come, or stay? We cannot live our lives as if we can or could or should determine the where, when and how of our redemption. If He says to come, can we then act as if called to remain?


Paul was shown how much he must suffer (Acts 9:16). Moses was told that pharaoh wouldn’t listen (Ex. 3:19). The first revelation of Ezekiel’s ministry was its ultimate failure (Ek. 2:1-7). The gospel is a scary thing because it is the endless reminder that grace is not the continual improvement of our circumstances but the radical resurrection of a ruined soul.


When Jesus reinstates Peter, there is a sacred second between a man and his Redeemer. Jesus says, Peter, I won’t give you the life that you want, the relationships you desire, or the safety you might crave. I will show you how you will die (John 21:19). And after giving undoubtedly the most depressing pep talk of human history, Jesus says with unshakeable optimism, “Follow me!” (21:19). Almost no one in the scriptures begins a powerful life for God with a pleasant one. And almost anyone who creates a restful life – David, Nebuchadnezzar, Solomon, Pharisees – ceases from a redemptive one. Maybe Jeremiah was less afraid of being young and more frightened of never growing old.


The gospel is a scary thing. Fear God only, it says. Even the demons do that – and shudder at the thought (James 2:19). Everyone else is pretending. The gospel is a scary thing because in a culture which trains us to cling to life we are encouraged to abandon the same. The gospel is a scary thing because like Eve we would rather feel the faithless fruit in our hurting hands than ponder the uncertainty of a life giving garden. I think the gospel is scary for a lot of reasons. But most of all it is frightening because it returns us to the garden – the everyday Eve experience. The gospel is scary because it means that my life isn’t based on the person living it but the One who gave it.



I don’t know who “they” are in your life. But God says to Jeremiah, you preach.


I’ll plan.


all in for jesus| written by james backing

*Originally appeared as A Jeremiah Journey on




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s