Have you ever been limited by God; unable to fully use the very strengths and abilities that God Himself has given you? I certainly have. I have wrestled with God many times about this, and have finally realized, that in spite of limitations, my life can be full of purpose.
At the age of 19, in anticipation of a great adventure, I accepted a one year out of state work assignment which, in actuality, became a time of great reflection. I began to consider the meaning and purpose of life, specifically, my life.
I came to realize that I did not believe the religious teachings I had been taught growing up. God had not been portrayed as a loving God, but as one of judgment. I made a definite decision to turn away from all I had known of religion. I also reasoned, if the possibility of going to hell was imminent, I might as well have a great time getting there! At that very moment, God stepped in to save me from a path of destruction.
I returned to MN, and upon my return, my best friend shared that I could know Jesus Christ as my personal savior and lord. I argued that I was born a Christian. She shared II Cor. 5:17 with me, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come.” She asked the question, “How has Christ changed your life since you’ve come to know Him?” I had no response; only conviction. I knew there had been no change. God’s Word continued to operate in me until, later that night, I prayed to receive Christ.
I returned to school at the U of M, and later transferred to Rochester, MN. During this time I was injured in a skiing accident, unsure as to whether or not there may be permanent disability in my right leg and foot. I remember calling an elder I knew in the church I attended, sobbing on the phone, wondering why was this happening to me. Sickness was not new to me. It had followed me my entire life, beginning in early childhood. I had always been able to overcome it. This time was different. Flat on my back, I was forced to be almost totally dependent on God in a way I had never known before. During that time, the volume of that still, small, quiet voice of the Spirit within was turned up, and the noise of daily life subsided. I came to know and love the real person of Jesus Christ in a very intimate way.
Today, I continue to struggle with chronic illness. At times, it is very limiting, impeding my ability to carry out the desires which, I believe, God Himself has placed in my heart. Numerous times I have wrestled with God asking, “Lord, why, why do you allow this? Why do you continue to put things in my heart that I am physically unable to fulfill?” Proverbs 16:9 says,” In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” In my case, I have come to understand that God has chosen to use my limitations for His purpose. Life’s experiences have put within me a deep desire to share the love of Christ with others. God’s plan for me, however, is not grandiose, as I would imagine it. It is simple; to love, befriend, walk along side and encourage others, even one person at a time. If my heart is open to God, He can use me in the smallest of ways; ways that, to me, seem insignificant.
What are these smallest of ways? They are responses to the small promptings of the Spirit within in daily life that move me to action, many times in reaching out to others; responding to a phone call when it’s inconvenient, writing a note to encourage someone when I really don’t think I have time, extending myself to others by needing to get out of my comfort zone. Zech.4:10 says, “Who despises the day of small things?” In reality, I do not know where these small things may lead. Only God knows that. My part is to be faithful; faithful to God’s speaking each day, regardless of how small or insignificant something may seem.
I am convinced, regardless of our condition or where we are in life, there is only one who will always be there for us and is our way through. His name is Jesus Christ. I believe the best thing I can do for any person, even in the smallest of ways, is to point them to Christ. In spite of limitations, my life can be full of purpose.