Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

A Place For Me

    Once upon a time a dear friend of mine wanted me to make a career change. He wanted me to come and help him with a great work he was doing. I turned him down…repeatedly…until he stopped asking. I turned him down not because I didn’t love him or want to work with him. No, that wasn’t it. I didn’t turn him down because I thought little of the work. On the contrary, I could see so clearly the greatness of the task…the good being done…the possibilities of it all. It would have meant a move several states away from extended family. But that’s not why I refused. I refused because I was afraid of letting him down. I knew I couldn’t match his pace. That was a given. But I feared that I would become more a dead weight to him than a help in the kingdom work he was doing. I often wonder how life would have been different had I accepted the challenge. Did I miss the greatest opportunity of my life to bear fruit for the Lord…to be a strength to my friend…to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ?

     The fear of inadequacy probably assaults most of us now and again. And with good reason, don’t you think? Do you remember the fellow who visited his psychiatrist and gave him his self-diagnosis? “Doc,” he said, “I think I am suffering from an inferiority complex.” To which his doctor replied, “No you are not. You actually are inferior!” There are confident souls among us, bless them. But many of us feel we are not up to it. And the fact is, we are right!

     Listen to me now, please, if you are one of us who feel we don’t measure up…not in intellect, or in appearance, or in giftedness, or in integrity, or in courage or in a hundred other things, Paul has a word for us…“For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called…” (1 Corinthians 1:26). It isn’t that God didn’t care for the wise, the mighty and the noble. It’s that most of them didn’t see their need of Him. God can certainly use the wise, the mighty and the noble of this world. But He isn’t limited to them. He loves them…calls them…and will accept and save them. But His call goes much further than to this world’s “success” brokers.

     Then Paul speaks of a group much larger in number…a group that God “chose” because they were willing. See if you can find yourself here…here among the “foolish, weak, lowly, despised nothings” of the world. Are you afraid you don’t measure up? Relax. You don’t. I don’t either. In fact no one does. For we all have missed the mark and fallen woefully short of God’s glory. But our Father God set Jesus Christ forth so that we could “measure up” once we enter Him. Bless His Name! Do you often feel foolish or weak? Have you felt like the invisible man or woman when some promotion or honor comes along? Have you not only been ignored but actually been despised? If you were to place yourself on a special scale that measures worth, do you feel it wouldn’t budge, even if you were to jump up and down? Well…I have good news for you. You are exactly who God is looking for! Please don’t count yourself out. God counts you in. We are waiting for you. We…the “foolish, weak, lowly, hated, zeroes of the world,” are here to remind you that God works wonders with the world’s rejects. Here…in Jesus Christ…there is a place…a safe place…where there is forgiveness…and rest…and peace…and the strength to start over…for us all.

 

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3 thoughts on “A Place For Me

  1. Thank God for the safe place…the forgiveness…the rest…the peace…and the strength to start over. Because I have messed up my life beyond belief! There is no way I am, or ever will be, worthy…except by the power of Christ. On my own, I am weak and worthless. But with God I can get through some really rough times and come out ok. I have been able to take action and tough out some things that I never thought possible…with the help of the Father and the good people He put in my life at just the right time. When I sat aside my pride and begged the Father for help, He ran to me and took me in His arms and gave me the strength to keep trying to do right.

    We went through a study of folks from the Bible that God used to accomplish His work…they didn’t think they were up to the task…they asked “Who? Me?” and God told them, “Not you…but Me”. It was incredible to watch as God chose the weakest of the weak, the lowest of the low to accomplish great things. Over and over.

    Thank You Father for calling us and loving us even though we are weak and sinful and unworthy. Thank You for making us more than we could ever be on our own!

    I LIKE THE WAY YOU SING HIS PRAISE, SHERRY. I KNOW IT RUNS DEEP AND TRUE WITH YOU. YOUR EXUBERANCE FOR GOD IS CONTAGIOUS, EVEN IN YOUR WRITINGS. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW YOUR PRESENCE IN THE LIVES OF GOD’S PEOPLE AND OTHERS MUST BE SO LIFTING. I REALLY APPRECIATED WHAT YOU SAID ABOVE…”But with God I can get through some really rough times and come out ok. I have been able to take action and tough out some things that I never thought possible…” I AGREE. WE ARE ON A TREMENDOUS LEARNING CURVE. I HOPE THAT I CAN PASS ALL THE LESSONS. TOO OFTEN, IN MY LIFE, AFTER ALL GOD’S CARE, I HAVE COME UPON A DIFFICULTY AND FELT MY FAITH WAVER. RATHER THAN LOOKING BACK AT ALL GOD HAS DONE AND FINDING FAITH FOR MY PRESENT DISTRESS, I LOOK AROUND AND WONDER IF…OR WHEN…HE WILL SHOW UP. I REMEMBER A SHEPHERD BOY WHO KNEW BETTER THAN THAT. HE LOOKED BACK AND SAW GOD’S PROTECTION AND DELIVERANCE OF HIS LIFE, THEN LOOKED AT THE GIANT OPPOSITE HIM AND RAN IN FAITH TO MEET HIM. I KNOW THAT IT’S OKAY TO STRUGGLE. IT’S REQUIRED. SOME THINGS ARE SO HARD. WE’D HAVE TO BE WITHOUT OUR HUMANITY IN ORDER TO NOT FEEL THE EMOTIONAL UPHEAVAL. BUT…I DON’T WANT MY STRUGGLE TO BE A STRUGGLE FOR FAITH IN THE GOD WHO HAS PROVEN HIMSELF ABSOLUTELY UP TO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I WANT TO TRUST. I WANT TO HELP OTHERS TRUST HIM. FOR THERE IS NO RESTRAINT TO JEHOVAH TO SAVE BY MANY OR FEW OR BY ONE…TO SAVE BY THE STRONG OR THE WEAK…TO USE THE MULTI-TALENTED OR THE SINGLE-TALENT PEOPLE…TO BE GLORIFIED IN THE WISE OR THE FOOLISH. HE MAKES A PLACE FOR AND HAS HIS WAY IN ALL OF US. MAY WE ALWAYS BE WILLING FOR THIS TO BE SO.
    SHERRY, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ AND COMMENT. IT ALWAYS HELPS ME.

  2. Rex Boyles on said:

    From the first time I heard you preach God’s word with authority and humility … the first time I experienced your friendship up close and personal … the first time I heard you lead singing … the first time I saw you comfort a grieving family with sympathy and compassion … the first time I ever heard you quote whole chapters of Scripture with confidence and conviction … the first time I ever heard you pray for our future and purpose … the first time I ever saw you resolve a conflict between brothers … the first time I ever saw you withstand pressure to compromise from pseudo-leaders … the first time I saw your tears for me that reflected my own heart for you … I knew that youi were of kindred spirit with the men God has always chosen to serve and lead. For in you there is the honesty of Isaiah … the humility of Gideon … the loyalty of Jonathan … the willingness of Ezekiel … the devotion of Hosea … the resolve of Jeremiah … the gentleness of Barnabus … the kindness of Jesus. If I – such a weak and flawed man – can see such in you … how must the One who created you … fashioned you … recreated you … see your extraordinary worth. I love you, my beloved friend. Rex

    REX,
    YOUR WORDS ARE MUSIC TO MY SOUL. I STILL WONDER WHY YOU OFFERED ME YOUR FRIENDSHIP BACK IN 1973 AND HAVE NEVER WITHDRAWN IT…NO NOT AT ALL…IN ALL THE YEARS SINCE. THAT YOU COULD SEE ME IN EVEN ONE OF THE BIBLE MEN YOU MENTIONED IS DIFFICULT FOR MY HEART TO CONCEIVE. BUT, I HAVE THOUGHT OF WHAT DREW ME TO WANT TO BE A FRIEND TO YOU. IT IS THIS…I LOVED THEN AND I LOVE NOW…THE WAY YOU LOVE GOD. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY TEACHER IN THE MATTER OF LOVING GOD SO. I AM A WILLING STUDENT. MAY GOD GIVE YOU STRENGTH EQUAL TO YOUR DAYS…SUSTAIN ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS IN FAITH, HOPE AND, MOST OF ALL, LOVE…AND MAY HE GUARD YOUR HEART, YOUR MIND WITH THE PEACE OF HIS PRESENCE IN YOU. YOU LOVE HIM WITH AN UNDYING LOVE. AND I LOVE YOU THAT WAY TOO.

  3. I have a fear of failure, a fear of success, and a fear of being stagnant. Hmmmm … lots of fear there.

    I remember the first time I actually realized I was afraid of success. It was more the responsibility I was afraid of … what if I couldn’t do as well as they thought I would? I once tried to drop a class in college because I was too busy and knew I couldn’t do all the work that was required. The teacher refused to let me drop. So I worked so hard that I finished most of the assignments in the first 2 months. She later told me, “You’re the first person I ever knew that tried to drop a class because it was too much work … and then finished early.”

    God put a hardworking spirit in me … of that I’m sure. But what I don’t understand is why didn’t He also give me that “go get ’em” spirit that would actually feel capable of taking on the responsibility. I have hidden far too many times … because of fear.

    This summer we studied those in the Bible that God used … that seemed to be the least capable of doing the job. It was pointed out that by saying, “I’m not qualified” you’ve just qualified yourself. God is looking for those that must lean on Him. He wants the weak so He can show His strength through them.

    Thank you for making it so clear that He wants us … no matter how far down the scale we have gone … no matter how much we’ve messed up … no matter how little we may feel … we are BIG to God. That’s just who He’s looking for. We always have a place.

    How long did my heart wander through horrible deserts of shame, guilt, loneliness, and doubt … when all along His oasis was there. Drink His water and be renewed. He is my place.

    “HE IS MY PLACE.” I LIKE THAT, PAIGE. HE IS DEFINITELY OUR ROCK IN A WEARY LAND IN THE SHADE OF WHICH THERE IS A PLACE FOR US…A PLACE OF SAFETY…OF REST…OF BELONGING…OF RENEWAL. YOUR GOOD WORDS REMINDED ME OF A SILLY STORY. IT SEEMS THAT ONCE THERE WERE AN ELEPHANT AND A MOUSE TRAVELING TOGETHER. THEY CAME TO A SORT OF SUSPENSION BRIDGE AND TRAVELED ACROSS IT. WHEN THEY WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE THE MOUSE LOOKED UP AT THE ELEPHANT AND SAID, “BOY, WE REALLY SHOOK THAT BRIDGE!”
    I FEEL LIKE THAT MOUSE AS I ATTEMPT TO BE FATHER GOD’S CO-WORKER. DOESN’T HE HONOR US IN THAT HE CALLS US “FELLOW-WORKERS” WITH HIM? (1 COR. 3:9) BUT THE MOUSE WAS RIGHT…IT WAS HIM AND THE ELEPHANT AFTER ALL. AND GOD IS RIGHT (SO WE ALWAYS AGREE WITH HIM)…IT IS HIM AND US. YES, WE KNOW WE ARE LESS THAN A FEATHERWEIGHT COMPARED TO HIM…BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT. THE POINT IS WE ARE ALLIED WITH HIM. WE HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THE BEAUTY, THE PROPRIETY, THE NECESSITY OF HIS WORK IN THIS WORLD. AND WE HAVE THROWN IN OUR ALL WITH HIM. DOESN’T MATTER IF MY “ALL” IS A FOOLISH, WEAK, DESPISED, LOWLY ZERO. WHEN MY MEASURE IS TAKEN, MY FATHER GOD MUST BE FACTORED IN AS WELL. PRAISE HIS NAME.

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