Several years ago, I was running from my calling, living in sin and making some pretty dumb decisions. My life started to spiral out of control. I started to lose things and people that I wanted to hang onto, but I couldn’t stop the madness. When my first wife told me she was leaving me, it was a wake up call. Up to that moment, I always felt like I could get back to where I needed to be in my life, but when that happened, I felt like I had even lost the calling of God on my life. It was too much for me to have lost that too. Some time later, I explained to a friend how I had lost the calling of God on my life and my purpose. He asked, “Who do you think you are that you have the power to revoke God’s purpose and calling on your life?”
I wonder if David felt the same way after he had his affair with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. Maybe Peter did too after he denied Jesus three times. I can hear him beating himself up saying, “You we’re going to be the rock that Jesus built His Church on. You blew it!” Yet, despite both of their failures, and public ones at that, God continued to use them. David and Bathsheba later had a son they named Solomon. He became Israel’s next king and was the wisest person to ever live. Peter, after being restored by Jesus, went on to lead the Early Church and turn the world upside down. Despite their failures, God never removed their calling or purpose.
Romans 11:29 says, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn” (NLT). To me, that’s pretty clear that no matter what I’ve done, God designed me with a purpose and no matter what I do, He’s not going to withdraw it. If you’ve been hearing that voice inside telling you that it’s too late or you’ve done too much for God to ever use you, combat it with this verse. God uses our failures and humanity in our calling. He has a way of using them to humble us, to make us approachable and as a testimony to others that God can use or save anyone. No one is beyond His love or ability to forgive. No one is beyond His ability to use. You and I lack the power to revoke God’s calling though we may run from it for a lifetime. God’s plan for you is still in place. Quit running from it or believing the lie that you’re damaged goods. Gods not done with you yet.
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
My son loves to watch “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” on my iPad. I think he loves Daniel Tiger so much because he sings songs that are easy for him to learn. My son started singing one of those songs recently when I was hanging a shelf in my room. He wanted to help, but the shelf was too heavy and too high for him so I asked him to sit on the bed and watch. He sang, “Everyone is big enough, big enough to do something.” I couldn’t help but laugh and said, “You’re right.” I handed him the screws to hold and had him pass me my level. He was big enough to help with that.
So many times in our lives we feel inadequate and under qualified. We take ourselves out of situations God has placed us in because we think we aren’t the right person for the job. We underestimate the value that we bring and we use that as an excuse to not do what God has called us to. Esther felt the same way. She was just a girl who won a beauty contest and became the king’s wife. She had no authority, no royal blood in her and was an orphan. She was the least qualified to stand before the king and get justice for her people.
Like anyone else in that situation, she made excuses as to why she couldn’t do God’s will. Her uncle, Mordecai, was unwilling to accept her excuses and sent her word that said, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) He understood that when God calls us to do something, He qualifies us to do it. He puts us right where He needs us in order to do what needs to be done. It’s not up to us to use how we got into that position as a disqualifier. It’s up to us to recognize why God has us where He does.
Each of us are qualified to do something for God. There are none of us who are perfect. None who are sinless. None who haven’t made huge mistakes we regret. God, in His mercy, doesn’t allow our past to keep us from doing His will. Instead, He embraces it and uses it to qualify us to carry out His will. What we think disqualifies us, God uses to qualify. What we think should keep us from helping Him is the very thing He wants to use. He uses the broken and scarred to help heal those with fresh wounds.
Don’t ever fall for the lie that you cannot be used by God because of something you’ve done. If you have been forgiven by God, then you are just the person God is looking for. You don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch. You can hold out your hands and let God use them to accomplish what He can only do through you. Who knows, perhaps you went through what you went through for such a time as this? He can use your scars to prove He heals open wounds. He can use your brokenness to show how He mends the broken-hearted. He can use you, no matter what.
When American Idol first came on TV, it was one of the most popular shows ever. People couldn’t get enough of it. Since that time several shows with the same premise have begun. The draw to reality shows like this is that it gives a nobody the chance to be somebody. It tells us that there’s a chance for each of us to be great, famous or known. It gives us a cut in the line to stardom, to bypass years of plugging away following the normal route. In essence, shows like that give each of us hope that we too will be discovered one day.
As I was reading Paul’s account of Abraham in Romans 4:17-18, it occurred to me that God only uses nobodies. When you look through the scripture and think of the great people of faith, they were nobodies. David was a shepherd minding his own business tending his father’s sheep when God chose him to be king. Abraham was a devoted husband who just wanted to give his wife a child. He was taking care of his possessions when God asked him to move. Mary and Joseph were just two young lovers trying to plan a wedding when God chose them to be the parents of Jesus.
Look at the disciples too. Most were ordinary fishermen, tax collectors and every day blue collar workers when Jesus gave the call to follow Him. Joseph was a teenager who ratted on his brothers one too many times when he was sold into slavery and dragged to a foreign land. He lived his life in obscurity until God chose to make him second in command of one of the greatest civilizations of all time. Moses was an abandoned child, who ran away from his adopted parents and was tending sheep in the desert when he had the burning bush experience.
The somebodies in the Bible all started out as nobodies. They didn’t follow the normal routes to greatness. They were just doing their normal every day routines when God stepped in. The difference between them and others was that they were willing to be obedient to the voice of God. David was willing to tend sheep as the king, Abraham was willing to leave his homeland with no questions asked, Mary and Joseph were willing to be ridiculed for having a child out of wedlock, the disciples were willing to leave everything behind to follow, Moses was willing to go home and face his past. Each person was willing to be obedient when it didn’t make sense.
That’s the difference in being a nobody and a somebody. Blind faith. God is still looking among the nobodies of this world to find somebody who will blindly obey. He’s looking for somebody to be great. He has not changed His methods. Blind obedience is still what He desires from you and me. Being willing to do whatever He asks even when it doesn’t make sense or defies logic is the trait He most admires. You and I have a choice when He comes our way. We have the choice to remain a nobody because we aren’t willing to do what He asks, or we have the choice to obey and be somebody great. What will your obedience look like today?