Can’t You See?

Then the LORD said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?” And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” And the LORD said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.

Jeremiah 1:11-12

In this first chapter of Jeremiah, God is pouring out word after word of encouragement to the young prophet. God lets Jeremiah know that He has formed Him and made Him. He promises that He will be the one who sustains when things get rough.

At first, Jeremiah cannot help but complain to God, telling Him that he is too young and no one will listen. The LORD, though, would not let Jeremiah get away with that complaint. He tells him that it’s His words that He’s putting in His mouth; Jeremiah doesn’t need to be concerned with that (vs. 9-10).

Even with all of this encouragement, God still shows Jeremiah a vision of an almond tree. Now, at first glance, that seems to make no sense as a means of letting Jeremiah know that He’s there. The Hebrew word for “almond tree,” however, sounds very similar to the Hebrew word for “watching.”

The fact that God had to let Jeremiah know that He was watching means that Jeremiah either had a difficult time seeing that either because things were already tough around him or because things were going to get tough for the prophet. It was probably a little bit of both.

God told Jeremiah that He was watching and that He was in control because Jeremiah was likely not going to be able to see it. From the way things appeared, it probably would have looked as though God’s hand had disappeared entirely.

Yet, God added in that vision of the almond tree so that Jeremiah would remember that He was watching. He told Him that His words would be in his mouth and that He would never leave. Taking that extra measure, though, would remind Jeremiah during those times when everything seemed lost, hopeless, gone that not one thing had evaded through His thoughts.

With all of the craziness that goes on in my life, much less the world at large, it gets really difficult to see that God is watching. It can be so easy to fall into the trap that says that He is not in control. We look into the heart of things and see all of the craziness. It can be near impossible to believe that not one thing that happens is outside of His control. Even then, when we believe that the whole world really is in His hands, we think that there must be some better way for this plan to be accomplished.

But He is in control; even when we don’t see it. He is in control. Nothing is slipping through His fingers.

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