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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Eat my words!

O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.

Therefore thus says the Lord: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. ~ Jeremiah 15:15-21

You know the saying, "I will eat my words." You know, when you make a stand on something and dare someone to prove you wrong.

Jeremiah, on the other hand, ate God's words.

And when he did, they became a joy to him. A delight. Jeremiah "eats" God's words as nourishment. Or even as dessert! (I mean, they delight God's words are like a big slice of chocolate cake or ice cream or cherry pie).

But so often - more often that I'd like - I hear God's word being used in far from joyful, delightful ways.

Often they are used more like a kind of bad tasting medicine you take because you're told it's good for you, and so you have to.

Where's the joy there? Where's the delight?

God's Word - a word centered on love - is meant to both nourish us and give us joy. When we "eat" God's Word, we internalize it. It becomes part of us.

Love becomes part of us.

Now, delighting in God's Word didn't make everything smooth sailing for Jeremiah. He's still got a kind of beef with God here. Why is he suffering so much?

That's the paradox of faith isn't it? God's Word fills us with love. But it doesn't promise us freedom from pain.

It promises that God is steadfast. God is with us. God loves us, even in the midst of our pain.

I hope you have received God's Word as one of joy and love rather than condemnation or anger.

I hope you are able to delight in it the same way in which God delights in you.

I hope that in the midst of pain in your own life, you are able to hold onto that Word as the lifeline that it is.

Feed me with your nourishing, wonderful, joy-filled Word, Holy One! Amen

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