The young Jeremiah’s reaction is completely understandable. He’s not even old for his prophetic learner’s permit, much less a prophets license.
God, after all, had told him this:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Those words from God are enough to make anyone’s head spin fast enough to dizzy them. Jeremiah is incredulous, as we’d all be.
“Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy,” Jeremiah replies, unaware that God doesn’t mind at all if a little child shall lead them.
God’s not-so-fast reply leaves nothing to the imagination. And it refuses, as God often does, to take “No” for an answer.
“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you,
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you.”
Moreover, God also lets Jeremiah know what to say when he does speak truth to power.
“Now I have put my words in your mouth,” God tells the youthful prophet.
The real truth is that God sees far more potential in each of us than we see in ourselves. He saw more in the young Jeremiah than the boy could ever imagine. And God sees more in you and me than we could ever dream of.
God gives us clues to how much potential waits within us as we pray. Our prayer time opens up the channel of communication. Or sometimes it’s just a sudden inspiration or an idea God drops into the mailbox of our mind.
But just as often, God speaks to us through other people who seemingly come up to us out of the blue and give us opportunities to do things we never saw ourselves doing.
God wants all of us to feel loved and valued. God wants us to have a sense of our own self-worth and as having a meaningful place in God’s world and its redemption through love and grace.
Not in a grandiose egotistical way. But in a way that is simultaneously incredibly uplifting and beautifully humbling.
We can also have faith—whenever God tells us “I want you to do this” and we move beyond “Who, me?” to “Okay, Lord, I’ll try”—that God will give us exactly what we need precisely when we need it.
“Yes,” God replies, “definitely.”