“Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
‘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.’”
These words spoken to a young Jeremiah were enough to make him want to run in the opposite direction. God’s call came to him to speak difficult words of destruction and of renewal. Jeremiah tells God that surely this can’t be God’s intent: “Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But God does not waver. The excuse of “I am only” does not impede God’s call. God answers, “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.”
I have been in many conversations in which I’ve heard or said similar words to that of Jeremiah. A dream spoken, a vision seen, a hope shared world in line with God’s reign…but one “I am only” or “we are only” shuts it all down. God’s words to Jeremiah are God’s words to each of us. Do not say “I am only…” I knew you before I formed you. Before you were born, I consecrated you. Yes, you.
What I hear God say to Jeremiah is this: “You are not only a boy. You are a boy, and exactly as you are your voice will speak my words. Your life will reflect my being.” And so, it goes for you. You are________. And just as you are, you are consecrated, chosen, and anointed to live into the dream, the vision, the hope, and joy.