Have you ever had one of those moments when you long to be used by God but feel you do not quite measure up? You love the Lord, and you are passionate about Him, but every time you think of your past, you start doubting yourself and your “qualification” to do what you know He has placed in your heart. Maybe unresolved issues, guilt, and actions from your past have left you thinking: “There is no way that God could use someone like me.” And so you slink off into the shadows, yielding your ground and spiritual mission as you wait for someone you believe to be more “qualified” to do what God had purposed for you to do.
First of all, did it ever occur to you that nothing about you surprised or surprises God? When He called you, He knew who you were. Even now, He knows you far more intimately than you could ever know yourself. He knew your past and everything wrapped in it, but He still called you. You may have done unspeakable acts, but that did not stop Him from opening His arms wide and embracing you as you yielded to His wooing. In other words, despite all the others He could have called, He pursued you and called you – warts and all.
The Scriptures provide many examples of people we would deem unqualified. In today’s terms, no employment agency would touch some of these men and women as they would all be deemed unemployable. In no particular order, Abraham was too old. Noah was a drunk. Moses was a murderer, and he stuttered. Isaac was a daydreamer. Jacob was a liar and a thief. Leah was deemed ugly. Joseph was abused and wrongly accused. Samson had long hair and was a womanizer. Rahab was a prostitute. David had an affair and was a murderer. Elijah was suicidal. Naomi was a widow. Isaiah walked about naked while preaching (we would say he had mental issues). Jeremiah and Timothy were too young. Peter denied Christ. And there are many others we could name. Take a stroll through the Bible’s Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11) and some of these people are listed there! Despite their shortcomings and failures, God used them all.
We are not asked to clean up ourselves before God can use us. We come to Him, just as we are, and allow Him to work out His purposes in our lives. Where we see failures, He sees successes; where we see obstacles, He sees opportunities. Why should God use imperfect people? Because it is through the imperfections of our lives that His light shines through to the rest of the world. When Paul asked the Lord on three occasions to remove his imperfection, the “thorn in the flesh,” Paul wrote: “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT). In his first letter to the Christians in Corinth, he reminded them: “But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7, AMP). In other words, by ourselves, we are not able, but we do what we do because of His power that is working in and through us.
We do not have to worry that we are not qualified. God qualifies those whom He calls. Our obligation is to answer, “Yes, Lord; use me,” and like Isaiah and the others, make ourselves available for whatever He has commissioned us to do. St. Augustine of Hippo was right when he said, “We do the works, but God works in us the doing of the works.” Again, from Isaiah, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I; send me'” (Isaiah 6:8, KJV). Warts and all. I am with Isaiah. How about you?