“My joy is gone. Grief is upon me. My heart is sick within me.”
– Jeremiah 8:18
Jeremiah 8:18 is a picture we see at various points in Jeremiah’s life as a prophet, his ministry as a prophet and what encourages me about this picture is the way Jeremiah is not, in any way, coldly disconnected from this work that God has called him to, this ministry that God has given him to speak his word.
This Verse Reminds Us to Grieve For Unbelievers
Jeremiah doesn’t just speak his word and then kind of go home like I’ve done my duty, he’s overwhelmed by the word he’s speaking and because it’s a word of judgment and coming wrath, he says, “My joy is gone. I’m grieving.” Grief is upon him. “My heart is sick within me.” It’s just such a powerful picture of grieving for people who are under God’s judgment which causes me to ask, do I grieve like this?
May we feel grief over those who do not know Christ. And for those who do not have access to the gospel.
Do I grieve like this? Do you grieve like this for people who are under the judgment of God from people who are headed toward and experience of the wrath of God unless something changes? When was the last time I wept, you wept over people who are lost in sin, apart from God? When was the last time we wept over peoples who are totally unreached with the gospel and under the wrath of God.
Jeremiah 8:18 Leads Us To Think About Uyghurs
I think about Uyghurs in China today. The Uyghur people, over 11 million strong, 0.01% gospel believing. I mean, hardly any, just a few Christians among 11 million people. There are Muslims in western China which means there’s only a few Christians among 11 million people than most everybody in that group of people has little to no knowledge of the gospel. They’ve never met a Christian. They’ve never had anybody share the gospel with them. They certainly don’t have any churches around that teach the gospel. 11 million Uyghur people haven’t heard the gospel.
Whose heart will be sick over them? Yours? Mine? God, please cause our hearts to be sick over them, for grief to come upon us for them, for the Uyghur people. God, we pray, for them to know your mercy. For your love, for the gospel to be made known to them. God, please, please, please show your salvation among the Uyghurs. Save them from judgment. God, we pray, bless the few Christians that there are, our brothers and sisters, that there are among the Uyghurs as they face challenges for following Christ in the middle of the people around them.
Jeremiah 8:18 Leads Us to Pray For China
We pray for others in China, other Chinese brothers and sisters. We pray for missionaries who are going to the Uyghur people from all kinds of different other countries. Please cause the Uyghurs to hear the gospel. And cause our hearts to be sick for them. Cause our hearts to be sick for other people groups like them. God, please help us to experience good, godly grief for people who are under your judgment.
God, we pray for that for people right around us. We pray for people in our lives and in our spheres of influence right now who have not trusted in Christ. They are lost in sin. They are far from you. God, please cause our hearts to grieve over them. Cause our hearts to be sick within us for them. Help us not to be cold and detached with this gospel in light of the need for this gospel.
God, make us a people who say with Jeremiah, grief is upon us. Our hearts are sick within us when we consider the lost around us and around the world. Therefore, Help us to live to make your grace known among them. So today we pray for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.