“Here I am, “I said. “Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
Lent is upon us and Advent is but a memory. The story of Jesus’s thirty three years has passed and soon we will celebrate His death and resurrection. During those three short years of His ministry Jesus gave us a commission. He started with Peter and the apostles. Later on in the story Jesus appeared to Paul and gave him the same commission.
We see in the Old Testament, God giving His commission to many people, people like David, like Moses, even Rahab.
What did all these people and many others have in common? None of them had stellar beginnings. David was a shepherd and the youngest of eight sons, Moses was a banished prince, Rahab was a prostitute, Peter and easily angered fisherman and Paul a learned man persecuting and killing the new Christians. Not exactly godly folks, but yet God chose them just as He chooses you and me.
So you’ve been chosen. What do you do? Well if you’re anything like me, and I’m sure many of you aren’t, you run away. I don’t want to be chosen if it means I have to change my life, step out of my comfort zone. Or I hide because I don’t believe I am up to the challenge.
The problem with both of these solutions is God knows. He knows where I hide, where I run too. He knows my fears, my shortcomings. He knows what I am capable of if I let Him in, if instead of running away or hiding, I turn and face Him, and say, “Yes Lord. Here I am.”
Another funny thing; He doesn’t give up. Remember the story of Jonah and Nineveh. God told Jonah to do something. Jonah ran away. But do you think God gave up? No, he knew where Jonah was and waited for him to come around, then asked again.
He does the same with us and he gave us encouragement through the blood of his son, Jesus. God had spent centuries encouraging, guiding, cajoling the Israelites. They didn’t rise to the challenge completely yet he didn’t give up on them. Instead he sent Jesus who met all the standards God had set before them. Jesus took on all their sins, all their failings. However He didn’t do it just for them, He did it for each and every one of us. He knows we won’t always measure up, that we will fall short and yet He patiently waits with grace, mercy and encouragement. His hand is always reaching down ready to pick us up and begin anew. He knows your doubts, He knows your shortcomings, but He also knows what we are capable of when we take His hand.
Let’s go back to Peter, for a moment. He starts the story as a hot-headed fisherman. Even during his time with Jesus and I’m pretty sure even after Jesus’s death Peter said and did things that didn’t fit with God’s way. Yet Peter grew and let God help him transform. He became the leader of the Christian church.
David is another one. He was a young shepherd when he was chosen by God to be the king of the Israelites. But his kingship didn’t happen overnight and even when he did become king after the death of Saul he still sinned and disappointed God. Yet God didn’t give up on him, didn’t strike him down with lightning. Instead David grew to be one of the greatest kings of Israel.
Rahab didn’t start out so good either. She was a prostitute in a land filled with sinners. She chose to help God’s chosen ones and through her actions became one of God’s chosen.
We all know the story of Moses, a banished Egyptian prince, banished for committing murder, raised believing in Egyptian gods. He came to believe in the one true God and led God’s people out of slavery and to the Promised Land.
There are so many more stories that I could share, but the point here is that God forgives. God waits. God loves. God never gives up on us. God will pick us up when we fall, will guide us when the light dims, will be merciful when we fail.
During the remainder of this Lenten season let me be open to God and the path He has set before me. And let me remember, like those who have gone before me, that if I fall, God will raise me up.