"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (NIV)
Jeremiah flounders and objects to this. This is really a profound call. His life was already established before he was born. God appointed him and he had no choice. Is that really what it says?
Jeremiah professed to be to young and immature, unlearned, naive, whatever. God said, "Don't worry about that. You have my words in your mouth."(Gayle's translation)
Then God began to ask Jeremiah what he saw. He saw an almond branch and a boiling pot tilted toward Judah. God said, "That's right. From the north will come the troops bringing disaster that will pour over your land."
Jeremiah was very young to be responsible for this kind of prophesy. He felt overwhelmed. He received God's assurance that he was able to accomplish what God had called him to do, but accepting that meant a difficult life. God told him he was not to marry. For a Jewish man that meant no descendants, no family, no lineage.
But the call of God was undeniable. It would be hard, but it would be what God wanted. Would that be enough? Did he want to be obedient? Did he have any other option? Not really. He chose God. After all, God had chosen him.
We are called by God, too. He has appointed us to ministries, and he has equipped us for them. Are we obedient? Sometimes we feel we are in the right place doing the right thing. Sometimes the job is hard and we want to rest and take our ease. Is that what God called us to? Not really.
Read the first chapter of Jeremiah and find in your life where God has called you to labor, to teach, to be an example. He gave Jeremiah lots of metaphors and symbols to show the people of Judah what their sins were and how they were to repent. Has he given you a symbol? Are you called from the womb to a service or ministry or purpose?
I think we were all called. Some places are not filled because some people have not yet obeyed the call.