Who Am I? The Inadequacy Of The Called
By Cathy Bryant on April 26, 2009
After yesterday's amazing video and our discussions on writing character emotion, I started thinking about how often we feel the emotion of inadequacy. The feeling that we're not good enough, that we're not able, that we can't.
Then I realized that many characters in the Bible felt the same way--especially when it came to God calling them to a certain task.
My prayer is that this devotional post will help us all on many different levels--as writers when we try to portray inadequacy in our characters, but more importantly in the inadequacy we often feel when we see a God-given task looming before us.
Let's look at a few Biblical characters who felt inadequate.
We've already studied Moses earlier this year, when we looked at excuses, but Moses felt inadequate for the task that God called him to.
But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?....Moses said to the Lord, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." ~Exodus 3:11; 4:10 (NIV)
Just a little story background first. The Midianites were oppressing the Israelites by camping on their land and eating all their crops. They ravaged the land, even eating their sheep and cattle. I get tickled every time I read these verses.
"The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." ~Judges 6:11-12 (NIV)
Get a picture of this in your brain. First of all, when the Bible refers to an "angel of the LORD" in the Old Testament, many theologians believe this is the preincarnate Christ. I can almost see Jesus sitting down underneath the tree watching an unsuspecting Gideon nervously trying to hurry through his task before the Midianites show up. I can picture a grin on his face when he says, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." (After all, Gideon doesn't come across as a mighty warrior--he's avoiding the enemy.) Can't you just see Gideon whirl around with a "Who me?" expression on his face?
Then the LORD tells him that he will be the one to save Israel from the hand of Midian. Here's Gideon's response:
"But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." ~Judges 6: 15 (NIV)
Do you see a pattern starting to emerge?
Here's Saul's reply to Samuel, when Samuel told him that the desire of Israel was turned to him in their request for a king:
Saul answered, "But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?" ~I Samuel 9:21 (NIV)
Isaiah (an example of personal and corporate inadequacy)
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Isaiah 6:5 (NIV)
After being told by God that he had been set apart before his birth to be a prophet to the nations:
"Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." ~Jeremiah 1:6 (NIV)
When you think about inadequacy, there is a certain humility that comes with it. Perhaps that is why the Lord chooses to use those who feel inadequate. On my recent mission trip, that seemed to be a common thread for those of us that went. We all felt inadequate.
But the good news? We serve a God that is able.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. ~2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day. ~2 Timothy 1:12b (NIV)
Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. ~Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy--to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~Jude 24-25 (NIV)
Not only is He able, but when we are weak, He is strong.
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." ~2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV)
Think about all the times, God chose the inadequate, the weak, the lesser. The disciples. Zaccheus. The little boy with his lunch of fish and bread.
What we have will never be enough on its own. But with God, it's more than enough.
Dear Father of heaven and earth, Thank You for our inadequacies and our weaknesses. They keep us in our proper place. Thank You that Your grace and Your power in combination with our inadequacy and weakness is more than enough to fulfill the task You've given us. Help us to remember who we are with You as our God. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
NEXT POST: First Wildcard Blog Tour of Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace (& Book Giveaway!)
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