Monday, August 9, 2010

when God calls, He equips

I was reading in Jeremiah the other day and I was struck by the conversation between God and Jeremiah in the opening verses of Jeremiah chapter 1. It just seemed so familiar a conversation - one that I have definitely had with God in my life, on more than one occasion. I would guess that this is a conversation many of us have had with God at some point in our lives.

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
            "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
                    before you were born I set you apart;
                    I appointed you as prophet to the nations."
"Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
But the LORD said to me, "Do not say 'I am only a child'. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today, I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
-Jeremiah 1:4-10, NIV

In these verses, God is calling Jeremiah to be His prophet. Jeremiah does not feel qualified for the job and protests accordingly. Then we see God promising to lead Jeremiah and to provide him with the words he is to say.

When I read this I began to think about how often we have similar conversations with God. It may be about a major decision in life, such as our career, education. Or it may be about taking on a role in a ministry at church or volunteering somewhere that pushes us out of our comfort zone. Or it may be about stopping and offering help to the person we just passed on the street. It does not matter what it is about, I think we very often protest when God asks us to do something specific.

I know there have been times when God has asked me to do something and I have very quickly had a long list of reasons why I was not qualified or able to do what He was asking. It is pretty easy to come up with reasons why. Much like Jeremiah protesting that he was only a child and did not know how to speak, we have reasons we give to God about why we cannot do something.

But, I was struck by God's response to Jeremiah - and it is much the same response that He gives us when we protest about our inability to do something. God responds to Jeremiah by equipping to him to carry out the calling God has given him. God does the same thing for us. When He calls us to do something, He will provide what we need to do it if we follow in obedience - even if we have doubts about our ability.

We serve a God who is capable of doing anything - even what would be impossible for man - so I wonder why we so often determine that He cannot give us the ability to do what He calls us to do? Do we believe that God can equip others and not us? Do we believe that God only equips people for certain tasks? Do we believe God only equipped people to do things in Bible times?

The truth is that God will equip us to do what He asks of us. Even if it seems impossible for us to do on our own, if God has called us to do it we can step out in faith that He will enable us to do it! Is that not some pretty incredible truth to build a life on? If God calls us to do, He will make us able to do it - whatever that means we need. But, we have to step out in faith that He will.

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