There was a time when I thought God couldn't possibly use me. Between my rough childhood, my shameful past, and my miserable marriage, I could not imagine a less likely candidate.
My heart was calling me to believe God, to run with passion the race I sensed Him calling me toward. But at the same time, vestiges from my past would flash in my mind, or I'd react wrong to a situation and feel ashamed, or a relational conflict would hit me, and then doubt would reign supreme. The constant doubt tore at me. One day I'd feel confident of my calling, the next day, I felt utterly disqualified.
But I failed to factor in four important things:
1. God's love never fails. It's His love in us that qualifies us, transforms us, and works in and through us. Even in our hardest moments, God's love lifts us, enables us and compels us to keep running.
2. God's gifts and callings are irrevocable. God knew the hurts I would endure and the mistakes I would make. He knows my shortcomings. But His specific calling on my life (and yours) does not disintegrate the moment we fail or doubt. This does not give us license to sin, or excuse us from pursuing godly character. On the contrary, it should instill a desire to become more Christ-like so we can pursue our race with confidence.
3. He uses our scars. Our past is not a bashing tool in the enemy's hand. Our unique experiences, coupled with God's healing power and grace, equip us to minister God's comfort, truth, and healing to others who have experienced the same wounds. God never wastes our pain.
4. It's a process. We are all in the process of becoming more like Jesus. As we press forward, it is wise to remember that God's not finished with us yet, and He will complete the good work He has begun in us.
Years ago I read a powerfully inspiring book called Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold , about a gifted young Scotsman who trained to run in the 1924 Olympics. In my favorite chapter, Eric is running his event when on the final lap another runner knocks him down. Assuming he is disqualified from the race, Eric lies on the ground on the sidelines, anguished at the loss of his shot at an Olympic gold medal.
When he finally dares to look up, Eric sees his coach frantically motioning for him to get up and get back into the race. Stunned, Eric realizes he is not disqualified after all. Jumping up, he determines to run his best race, in spite of the lost time. The audience roars as Eric begins passing the other runners, and to everyone's surprise, he wins the gold.
My sweet sisters, the enemy would love for us to believe that we are disqualified and our race is over. But if we will dare to look up, our Ultimate Coach--Jesus-- is fervently cheering us on. He sees our efforts, He's encouraging us to stay in the race, and He cannot wait for us to cross the finish line. Being knocked down does not disqualify us. We simply must choose to get back up and keep running our race.
"Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy
and disqualifying you for the prize..." Colossians 2:18
"I press on toward the goal to win the supreme and heavenly prize to which God
in Christ Jesus is calling us upward." Philippians 3:14
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The winners of a signed copy Lynn Cowell's new book, His Revolutionary Love, are:
1. kmigs - no blog
Please e-mail me your snail-mail address so we can send your new book to you!