But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 1:7-8

The word prophet sounds rare and ancient to many people, especially if you don’t know anyone who is a prophet. But prophets were more common thousands of years ago than it is today. A prophet is a person regarded as a proclaimer of the will of God. Prophets warn people of God’s punishment if they do not turn away from their evil. Most of the time people ridicule prophets because they don’t want to hear that what they’re doing is wrong.

This is what Jeremiah was called to do. God called him to be a prophet to many nations. It would seem a great honor to get a direct call from God but in retrospect, those were fearsome times to become a prophet. The people of Judah were steeped in sin and they enjoyed being in it. They find prophets and prophecies ridiculous. Jeremiah initially refused by excusing himself as someone who doesn’t know how to speak and that, “I am only a child.”

We are often like Jeremiah in the beginning of his life as a prophet. We find excuses to keep us from practicing and sharing our faith in uncomfortable environments. We’re scared to be rejected and challenged in what we believe. But even before God’s appointment to Jeremiah, He already assured him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as prophet to the nations.” And further on, after Jeremiah gave his excuse, God said that He is with Jeremiah and that He will rescue him.

Before you were born, God knew you. He knows everything about us, past, present, and future. Every fiber of our being is known to God, what have we to fear? Jeremiah had fears. He was imprisoned. He received threats to his life, too, but this did not undermine his faith to do what God called him to do. Jeremiah is not a special kind of human — he’s not above us. He is human like us and though our individual callings are not similar to his, we are still called by God to proclaim His message wherever we are and in whatever circumstance we’re in.

Are you a student? A professional? A parent? What are your fears in proclaiming God where you are? Pray to God and submit your fears to him like Jeremiah did.