Monday, March 7, 2011

Run with the Horses

The terrible threat is that we might die earlier than we really do die . . . The real horror lies in just such a premature death, a death after which we go on living for many years.
There is a memorable passage concerning Jeremiah’s life when, worn down by the opposition and absorbed in self-pity, he was about to capitulate to just such a premature death. He was ready to abandon his unique calling in God and settle for being a Jerusalem statistic. At that critical moment he heard the reprimand: “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5) 
. . .
What is it you really want, Jeremiah? Do you want to shuffle along with the crowd, or run with the horses? 
. . .
It is easier to define oneself minimally (“a featherless biped”) and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally (“a little less than God”) and live adventurously in that reality. 
It is unlikely, I think, that Jeremiah was spontaneous or quick in his reply to God’s question. The ecstatic ideals for a new life had been splattered with the world’s cynicism. The euphoric impetus of youthful enthusiasm no longer carried him.
He weighed the options.
He counted the cost.
He tossed and turned in hesitation. 
The response when it came was not verbal but biographical. 
His life became his answer. 
“I’ll run with the horses.” 

// Eugene Peterson

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