We all have a comfort zone and prefer being in it. Stepping out can be difficult as feelings of insecurity, a lack of confidence and inadequacy surface. These have been my feelings lately. Without a doubt, it is the Lord Who has caused me to step out. I did not go looking for the task. I did not ask for it. He brought it to me. I have questioned why He would use me in this area. I have looked around and pointed out others who may be more equipped or qualified. I have been Moses all over again, telling the Lord that perhaps He made a mistake in choosing me (Exodus 3).
Inadequate. Weak. Underqualified.
My feelings have made me ponder Mary, the mother of our Lord. If I feel inadequate for the task He is given me, how must Mary, have felt?
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women… Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest… therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:28,31,32,35
Did she feel adequate to carry the Son of God in her womb? Did she feel qualified as a mother-to-be? I’m sure her excuses could have abounded: I’m young. I’m not married. I’m inexperienced. I’ll be a first-time mom. I’m poor. I’m from despised Nazareth.
We don’t know her thoughts but thankfully we do know her response. And it has touched my heart.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word.
Mary had not gone searching to be the mother of the Son of God. It is doubtful she ever asked for it. She probably never expected it. But God chose her. Hand-picked. Selected. And her response? I am the servant of the Lord. What you have said will happen, and I accept.
In spite of what Mary may have felt, she was simply willing to step out of her comfort zone in a big way, and accept the task God gave her to do.
What about your tasks? Do you feel inadequate for the job He has given you? Do you wonder why He has chosen you? Do you look around and see others you believe are more qualified than yourself? Do you see all your failures? Do you feel weak? Do you lack the knowledge or experience you think you need? Do you share the same feelings of inadequacy as I do?
Perhaps this is exactly where the Lord wants us.
When I feel confident, do I feel my need of Him? When I know what to say, do I turn to Him for help? If I have the answer, do I depend on Him?
Not in the same way as when my inadequacy looms large.
Inadequacy keeps us humble. Inadequacy makes us dependant on Him. Inadequacy is perhaps right where He wants us.
Although dealing with a different situation, Paul struggled with feelings of weakness, asking the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh”. Instead of removing it however, the Lord responded with these words.
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me… for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Inadequate. Weak. Underqualified.
When these feelings surface, I will rejoice. Why? Because…
The power of Christ will rest upon me (His power, not mine). His strength will be made perfect in my weakness (His strength, not mine). His grace will be sufficient for me (His ability, not mine).
When I am weak, then am I strong!
Did Paul ever feel inadequate for the job of apostle? In 1 Timothy 1:13 he listed his disqualifiers: “I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent”, however…
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. 1 Timothy 1:12
Christ Jesus put Paul into the ministry. Christ Jesus counted him faithful. Christ Jesus enabled him.
In the same way,
God has given you and I a ministry. He has counted us faithful. He will enable us to do the task.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
I can do all things… how? Through Christ. It is His strength that is made perfect in my weakness. Only when I am weak can I experience His strength.
This Christmas season, as we think upon the birth of our Saviour, may we ponder Mary and her submission to the task God gave her. When God handpicks us, counting us faithful for a job He needs done in His Kingdom, may we seek to imitate Mary’s gracious response…
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word.”