Baruch was a friend of the prophet Jeremiah.  Together they had gone through some of the worst times in the history of the nation.  Baruch served as a scribe for Jeremiah.  He even helped preach Jeremiah’s messages in the Temple (Jer. 36) while Jeremiah was in prison.  Along with Jeremiah, Baruch had watched the destruction of their beloved Jerusalem.  We know that the prophet Jeremiah went through times of discouragement, but it seems that Baruch shared those feelings as well (Jer. 45:3).  It was in a time of struggle that God gave Jeremiah a message for his friend:  “And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,” says the LORD. “But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.” (Jer 45:5 NKJV).
It seems to me that our own desires can be one of the great sources of tension, frustration, and even depression.  When our minds are caught in a loop of wanting the wrong things, the difficult times become even more difficult.  James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1 NKJV)

I wonder how much of my frustration would go away if I replaced the desire to have “great things” for myself with a desire to do great things for God?  Peace comes when I learn to take my eyes off of “me” and put them on “Him”.  Just like in Baruch’s time, life isn’t always easy.  But I can endure tough times when I keep my desires aimed at God instead of me.


The people of God had reached a point in their history where they were going to be facing a difficult time of judgment.  God needed a special man who would speak clearly about God’s heart and God’s plans.  When the people awoke from their complacency, they would need someone who had pointed the way back home.  And Jeremiah was that man.  We can look back at the ministry of Jeremiah and see how vital his role was in history.  But at the time, Jeremiah had a hard time seeing that his life had any value at all.  He’d give a serious warning (Jer. 20:3) only to have someone takes his words and use them to mock him (Jer. 20:10).  Jeremiah was threatened, beaten, and thrown into prison.  Very few people seemed to understand the seriousness of the nation’s situation. 

At times, this was simply too much for Jeremiah and he fell into despair.  He found himself wishing he had never been born (Jer. 20:14).  How did Jeremiah keep going?  Jeremiah wrote, “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One” (Jer. 20:11).  He could keep going because he clung to the One who would not let him down.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to see ourselves the way that God sees us.  Sometimes we think that we’re not that important.  When life is filled with opposition, we too can entertain the same kinds of thoughts of despair that Jeremiah had.  But what if God thinks that you’re just the right person for what He wants to do?  What if you’re exactly what God is looking for?  Don’t give up.  Cling to the mighty, awesome One.  He won’t let you down.


All through the Scriptures we see the various contrasts between the person who trusts in the Lord and the person who doesn’t.  Just look at the picture Jeremiah paints,

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jer 17:5-8 NKJV)
How do I know if I’m trusting God rather than trusting man?  I think one of the indicators is found in my prayer life.  Where do I go first with my needs?  Do I seek out human help or God’s help?  I’m not saying that I’ll never need to ask a human being for help.  I’m not saying that I can’t be the answers to my own prayers by getting up and taking action. The issue is where I look for help first. Sometimes I justify my lack of trust by shooting up quick little prayers as I try to deal with a problem.  I try to convince myself that my little “help” aimed at God means I trust Him. Certainly there are situations that require a quick reaction on my part, but I’m seeing that most “emergency” situations are things I knew I should have been praying for all along. Consistent prayer.  Trusting His guidance.  This is what turns a barren desert into a well-watered, fruitful garden.