“And Moses said unto the people, FEAR ye NOT, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” ~ Exodus 14:13-14
“But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.” ~Jeremiah 1:7-8
God told Jeremiah not to consider himself as too young: not because he wasn’t young; not because he was mature; not because of anything about Jeremiah himself. Jeremiah was told not to think of himself as too young simply because God said so “for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee”. Likewise, God told Jeremiah not to be afraid, not because the situation wasn’t frightening, not because it wasn’t real. Jeremiah was told not to be afraid because of what God would do: because of God’s power and control over the mission “for I am with thee to deliver thee”.
Our weakness and fears will not stop God from calling us to serve Him. Our weaknesses are not of consequence, they cannot imperil the mission, because God is sending us out in His unfailing strength. Likewise, our fears are of no concern, because God has given us all we need to triumph over the adversities that we will face. The only thing that does matter is our OBEDIENCE! How will we respond to God’s call? Will we obey or disobey him?
Consider another prophet: Jonah. Jonah started out with a bad attitude (Jonah 1) and ended with a bad attitude (Jonah 4). But, in between, he obeyed God and the mission was successful. To be clear, a good attitude is always best to have, but obedience is the most critical factor for success. We can’t wait to be perfect to obey God; rather, obedience to God perfects us.
Finally, it is not how we see ourselves that matters, it is how God sees us. Paul reminds us that we see through a “glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12); that is, we don’t have god’s perfect perspective. For example, our personalities often distort the real image of ourselves. Some people are so negative about themselves, that they can only see their weaknesses when they look in the spiritual mirror. Conversely, some others are so confident that they only see their strengths. However, what really matters is what God sees in us. We can see only partially, but God sees us perfectly: both our weaknesses and our strengths.
God knows what He can accomplish through us, if we will let Him. Moreover, He won’t be buoyed by on our strengths or hindered by our weaknesses, because it is His omnipotent power that will sustain us through the mission He has called us to do.
Essentially, God told Jeremiah and is telling us, not to look at our weaknesses… but to look at His strength; not to look at the enemy and become afraid… but to look at His control over ALL the universe and be encouraged.