When God uses our failures for our future.
BY ELIZABETH ARIEL
It all started when I was about 15 years old. A journalist at my church was speaking on the need for Christians in the media. I had never felt God's presence before, but I did that day. It was as if God's finger was pressing on my chest, and He was saying, "You."
Convinced that I was called to be a writer, I pursued every opportunity open to me. I started writing for the local paper and the school newspaper. Later I moved on as a freelancer for a larger newspaper. But even though I was doing what I believed I was called to do, I was stressed because writing is not my natural forte. Just the inky smell on entering the newsroom would cause my muscles to tense up. My writing was mediocre, and I knew it.
My writing "career" started to fall apart my second year of college. The newspaper where I had interned chose someone else that summer, and the door at another newspaper where I interviewed slammed shut. But the finale came several years later when a pastor's wife asked me to write an article on prayer for church. She was an Editor by trade.
So, her disgust with the article that I had written was the
last shovel full of dirt on my writing grave.
Little did I know that I was going through God's training process. God had me where He wanted me: humbled, broken, and well acquainted with how utterly inadequate I am.
When we get to this place of inadequacy, we are ready for God's empowering. In this place, we are stripped of everything we thought that we were or could be, and we are in position to be "clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
God's glory shines brightest from the place of our weakness. As 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 says;
"But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him."
Jesus chose uneducated fishermen, thieving tax
collectors, and men with no social standing.
Moses learned this lesson the hard way. When God met with him in the wilderness tending sheep, he was a man who had given up on God's call. As a young man he knew that he was called to liberate his people, the Hebrews. He had tried and failed. Now he was a nobody, and he knew it.
So, when God told him to go back to Egypt to confront pharaoh and bring God's people out, he protested vociferously - even to the point of arguing with God: "But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt...They are going to say, 'God? Appear to him? Hardly!'...Oh, master please! Send somebody else." (from Exodus 3 and 4, The Message)
Then he brought up his own inadequacy – his stammering. God was sending him to speak to pharaoh with a stutter! This shows how inconsequential our weaknesses are to God. God chose Moses to be his mouthpiece even though he was slow of speech. And yet, we place so much weight on our abilities – even to the point of not carrying out our commission because we feel inadequate.
Who Moses was in the Spirit had nothing
to do with who he was in the flesh.
Moses had experienced the pain of man's rejection. When he killed an Egyptian who was abusing a Hebrew, he thought that his people would receive him as their deliverer, but when he tried to break up a fight between two Hebrews the following day, he was rejected. "Who put you in charge of us?" Acts 7:27
God was pressing hard on the wounds of his failure, but once Moses reawakened to the call, these wounds became his safeguard - he never forgot his own inadequacy. It kept him humble and dependent so that God could flow through him. He was so dependent that he refused to move without God: "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33: 15, 16)
The power of His presence is our trademark. One of the ways the world will know that we are His companions is that they will see the weak, the crippled, and the broken outpace the great.
One of the ways the world will know that we are His companions
is that they will see the weak, the crippled, and the broken
outpace the great.
As I started writing with Him instead of for Him, I discovered that He is amazingly creative. All the stress of writing is gone. It's sheer fun, and it has become a place where I encounter Him. God unearthed that unmarked grave in my life and breathed in His resurrection life. Now I am laughing at inadequacy!