We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:17-18 (MSG)
I am nobody and yet I am somebody. I am somebody, not because of who I am or because of anything I did; I am somebody because of who Jesus is and what He did for me. My value lies in my belief, my trust, and my faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.
When in the midst of the circumstances of life I have to choices. I can either look at things as being hopeless, never to come to a ‘successful’ pass or I can trust in the God of the impossible, trust in His promises, trust in His love. I can trust that nothing that my Father in Heaven has said will come back void.
When I truly gave my life to God with a desire to do His will rather than my own, I began to understand that in myself, with all of my talents and strengths, I was still nothing and had nothing to really offer without Jesus living through me. When I began to walk in His footsteps, within His strength, I realized that it wasn’t about whether I had the skills, the knowledge, the ability to do things. I had to put even more trust in God that I could do all things through Him. It wasn’t about whether or not I was equipped to do the tasks at hand. It was about whether I was called or not. It is a bit cliché, but true all the same: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.
So many times on the mission field I have felt complete out of my league. I questioned whether I even had the ‘right’ to be there, whether I was ‘worthy’. And as I questioned those things, God would use me in such a way that I knew it wasn’t about me, but about Him and His Glory.
One of the biggest difficulties on the foreign mission field is struggles with languages. In my situation, I have learned enough of the language to have a basic conversation and I often don’t have ready access to a translator. But that has yet to stop God from using me.
One of my favorite testimonies is of a widow name Lakshmi. She is an older woman, probably in her mid 70’s. I participated in her baptism 5 years ago during my first trip in Tamil Nadu. I looked forward to seeing her on Sundays at church because of the joy of the Lord she carried with her all the time. I loved watching her worship, hands raised, eyes closed with tears of joy streaming down her face running into her smiling mouth. Week after week, I would see her toward the back of the building worshipping and praying to the God of Love. And then one Sunday she didn’t show; and then the next and the next and the next. We knew that she hadn’t died, one of the other widows would have told us; but she wasn’t coming to church any more. We went to visit her during the week after not seeing her for a while. We wanted to find out if anything was wrong. She explained that her employer had found out that she believed in Jesus and changed her working day to Sunday so she had to choose between having the money she needed to be able to eat throughout the week and going to church. We prayed with her and blessed her. We asked God for wisdom.
A few weeks passed and one Sunday she showed up in church. After the service was over she came up to me for prayer. Richard, my husband, was busy with some other believers and wasn’t able to come and tell me what she was asking prayer for. I didn’t know why she was asking for prayer, I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. I trusted that God knew what she needed and prayed into that. I few minutes passed and I saw a picture of a heart; it looked like there was a crack through it, similar to the pictures that are drawn to indicate a broken heart. I began focusing my prayer on that picture of a heart, asking the Lord to heal her broken heart. When she had come up to me her face was so sad, forlorn, and as I began praying into this small vision of a heart, I could see the joy rise back into her.
Later on that day, Richard and I were interviewing some of the widows who had recently began coming to church so that we could get to know them, their needs, and there prayer requests better. During this time Lakshmi shared with us what had happened, this time Richard was able to translate.
She had felt led that Sunday to skip work and come to church. The need to be with other believers in the House of the Lord was so overwhelming that she didn’t think twice about whether or not she would have enough money to feed herself during the week. As she was walking the 2 kilometers to church she began having very strong, deep pains in her chest, as if she was having a heart attack. She explained that she couldn’t focus during the service, wasn’t able to worship. She prayed and felt the Lord direct her to come to me for prayer rather than Richard. She shared that the pain was increasing moment by moment, but as I began to pray for her, immediately the pain lifted in her chest and by the time we ended with Amen, all of the pain was gone.
We both knew this wasn’t anything I did. We both knew that this was God in His Healing Glory working through our trust and faith in God’s promises. In her hopelessness, she was shown first hand God’s everlasting love for her. We stood together and believed in what the Lord would do for her.
God has called all of us. He has given us all a mission, called everyone to ‘Go’. You may not feel like you’re up to it or able to do it, but you have been called in some capacity. Put your belief in God’s promises. Put your trust in God’s desire to make a somebody out of ‘nobody’.
Energize the limp hands,
strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
“Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” Isaish 35:3-4 (MSG)
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India