The men of Anathoth wanted me dead. They said they would kill me if I did not stop speaking in the LORD’s name. - Jeremiah 11:21
One of the worst kinds of loneliness is spiritual loneliness. Jeremiah expe-rienced this in his own hometown, Anathoth (Jeremiah 1:1). No one wanted to hear his message. The townsfolk—his neighbors, friends, and even his own family—hated him. He was crushed when he realized that the people closest to him were not about to follow King Josiah’s reforms and return to the Lord.
What did Jeremiah do? First, he complained bitterly to God. “Now let me bring you this complaint,” he lamented (Jeremiah 12:1). We are allowed to do that, you know. We can tell God what it feels like to be spiritually alone among the people who matter most to us. He understands when we gripe about the wicked getting away without punishment—and even prospering (Jeremiah 12:2-4).
After making his complaint, Jeremiah listened to God—but it wasn’t easy! Jeremiah would con-tinue to be an object of scorn and revenge (Jere-miah 12:5-6), but God promised, “I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. . . . I will protect and deliver you” (Jeremiah 15:19-20).
Loneliness can draw us into a deeper commit-ment to God. There comes a time when the words of the hymn “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” become our own. We need to say, “Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.” May we learn that loneliness some-times is the price we must pay for our faith—even in “Anathoth,” our home.
For Further Study: Jeremiah 11:18-23
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.