But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "I have put my words in your mouth." - Jeremiah 1: 7-9a
When I was serving as a hospital chaplain during seminary I often had people tell me "you look too young to be a chaplain!" Most of the time it was meant to be a compliment or said with a bit of loving playfulness. However, I did once have a patient ask me "well what could you at your age possibly know about the world?"
I get it--we learn many things along the way in life. God shows up and sustains us through trials heartaches. We grow and learn to grasp just how faithful God truly is. However, I fully believe that God's faithfulness is so great, so wonderful, that it is there for everyone- in every time and space; in every age and race; in every class or identity. In this text Jeremiah bemoans his age and yet God promises that God will speak through him, placing God's own words in his mouth.
Perhaps what we might find hope in is seeing how God's faithfulness shows up in so many different ways. As a transgender, queer person for example- I've experienced God getting me through some hard times that a cisgender person will never experience, regardless of how many years of life experience they have. When I worked at a homeless shelter, I had clients who told me stories of God's faithfulness in their lives. What a beautiful testimony to hear, and yet I know I can't fully understand what they have experienced. Still other friends of mine have shared about what life is like as a black person in America and how their faith has carried them. What a beautiful testimony, and yet as a person with white privilege I will never understand that experience of God's faithfulness.
Great is God's faithfulness indeed. Let us not miss out on glimpsing the full picture of the many ways that God shows up. We do serve a God who is full of surprises, who chooses unexpected people, and shows up in unexpected ways. Thanks be to God.
God, we are so thankful that you are the one in whom we live and move and have our being. Draw our attention to your presence in our lives and in our world, that we might grow deeper in our devotion to you. Amen.
Kim Sorrells is an ordained minister in the UCC and a member of Central Congregational UCC in Atlanta, GA. They currently serve as the Georgia Field Organizer for Reconciling Ministries Network.