Most of the time the people you are exhorting as a prophet are your friends and peers. After season of this, you might just end up suffering from depression like Jeremiah. Jeremiah wrote Lamentations and he is sometimes called the weeping the prophet.
Feel his sadness in these verses.
Jeremiah’s righteousness sustained him. He claimed that the kingdom’s peace wasn’t truth peace from God, but one that was maintaining the norm too much. A peace that was more the result of sedation because it didn’t speak conflict directly and explicitly, it didn’t work toward solutions, it rather just dumbed down what was going on in order to maintain some sense of false peace. He explicitly called out the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, and was proven correctly when Nebuchadnezzar conquered those nations.
Jeremiah also explicitly called out other prophets, declaring them as false prophets that were catering to the powers that be. Further isolating himself, he spoke explicitly about the crumbling nation of Israel. For following God ferociously, Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten up by a priest and a false prophet, imprisoned by the King, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern by government officials, and opposed by a false prophet.
This variety of prophecy is really challenging because it involves a blind following of God, you keep preparing the path, the way of the Lord, and everyone around you says that you are crazy. And they put you in jail and try to kill you. Even your own community, and people, and nation, all think you are out of your mind. You’re one of a billions of people and, odds are, you are wrong. But God helps you defy those odds.
Note how he praises God just a few verses later in Lamentations.
Jeremiah finds His hope alone in God. In this materialistic season, the phrase that Jeremiah utters: “The Lord is my portion” is what sustains him when all else has failed. And it is doesn’t immediately sustain Him; he is waiting for Him to show up. He is waiting for the Savior to be born just like we are.
Jeremiah’s prayer is an antidote for Americans who seem to endlessly have their plate refilled. Jeremiah knows that nothing but God will satisfy him, and as he declares that until it nearly does Him in. His prayer is our Advent prayer.
Jesus filled these prophets up, as they prepared to reveal him to the entire world. That’s the thing we are doing this Advent. The prophets declared the truth—but did so in a way that was less about themselves, and more about changing the world. If you ever think you should bifurcate evangelism and prophecy (or think evangelism isn’t for you—but declaring the truth is), you may want to think again.
Feel the normal pangs of child birth this season, the pain of following Jesus, the reluctance, the loneliness, the depression—but deny yourself, have faith, and let your righteousness sustain you. Don’t lose heart. Jesus is here and He’s coming.