My grandmother was 14 years old and living on a farm in Michigan when she made an appointment with her Presbyterian minister to tell him that she felt called to the ministry. “I’m sorry, Emma,” he said. “You must be mistaken. God doesn’t call women into the ministry.” A day or two later her father went to see the minister.
Martha Tidwell sat before me wearing a blue pants suit and a weary face. Four years ago she left her high-paying job as an accountant after having discerned, with her church’s help, that she was called by God to begin the process of becoming a pastor. Her husband, Ted, was supportive and quit his job as well so that they could come to Pittsburgh to begin her studies.
When friends gave birth last fall to Lydia, she was normal and healthy.
But three months later the seizures began, and she was diagnosed with a
rare genetic disorder, Aicardi Syndrome. Now she clings to life
precariously. In preparing for her death, her parents asked me for
funeral resources, and I suggested Jeremiah 1:4-10.
For all of his tears and lament, Jeremiah as portrayed in Jeremiah 1 is a bold young man mouthing off to God. Maybe the disrespect we sense in this exchange is not as dramatic as the disrespect that some of today’s youth display toward their elders, but it’s there all the same.