The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah never held back when God told him to speak up. As you might imagine, this didn’t make Jeremiah too popular among the people who weren’t doing things God’s way. In fact, many of them started a plot on how they could eliminate Jeremiah.
God gave Jeremiah the heads-up on the bad guys who were trying to take him out (Jeremiah 11:18), to which Jeremiah said, “Go get ‘em, God!” (11:20). God promised Jeremiah that He would indeed take care of them (11:21-22). So Jeremiah pulled up a chair to watch how God was going to punish them. I’m not sure exactly what Jeremiah thought would happen, but one thing I do know: he certainly thought it would happen right away.
“God? Hello! Are You going to take care of these bad guys? Didn’t You say You’d get ‘em? I’m waiting. Anytime now You can zap ‘em with lightning … or make them fat and ugly … or at least give them bad breath and make them lose their jobs. Anything? Hello? Hey, what is going on here?! Not only are you not punishing them, it looks like things are actually going better for them! What in the world are You doing?!?” (12:1-2)
Ever been there where it looks like the bad guys are not only getting away with their badness, but even being blessed in the process?
God told Jeremiah that He was using these bad guys to actually help Jeremiah. God had big plans for Jeremiah’s life, but He needed Jeremiah to be stronger and have greater endurance. God said it this way—
If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a safe country, how will you manage in the thickets? (12:5)
God reassured Jeremiah that the evildoers would indeed be punished but—and this is the important thing—God would do it in His own time (12:13).
In the meantime, God was going to use these bad guys to bless Jeremiah with increased strength and endurance, if Jeremiah would allow God to mold him and teach him.
Do you have some bad guys in your life? Hang in there! God doesn’t waste a thing. He is using even these evil people to bless you and accomplish His plans (Romans 8:28).