“You’re like mouldy underpants.” It sounds like an insult from an infant school playground – I’d expect God to be more sophisticated in his similes. But that’s the message of the enacted parable of Jeremiah’s loincloth in chapter 13.
God feels deeply. He cares about his people and minces no words of warning.
Jeremiah doesn’t beat about the bush either when he complains to God in chapter 15. But God assures him that it is for good. Contradictions are allowed.
The LORD said: ‘Surely I have intervened in your life for good, surely I have imposed enemies in you in a time of trouble and in a time of distress.’ (15:11)
The realities of life are complicated, and God’s involvement doesn’t always simplify things. Sometimes we need to be ready to hold apparently contradictory truths and experiences alongside one another, and trust the LORD to resolve them for good and in his own time.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it does mean that we shouldn’t always be too concerned about being polite in our prayers.