Perfection Not Required

“The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” (John 11:28)

Right Where We Are

What do you suppose followers of Christ need to look and act like? Is obedience and surrender part of their identity? Are they the ones who are gifted, available, committed, or sold out?

Perhaps. But not necessarily so. Maybe a far more accurate description would include some of the following traits: imperfections, flaws, inadequacies, and rounds of occasional fearfulness and uncertainty.

God uses us right where we are in the middle of whatever we are dealing with. Actually, the mess and the muddle swirling around might be the very things he allows to advance his purpose, to align us to his plan, to bring about his great glory and good. Our Lord has a way of using us when we are feeling a bit useless or disappointed with the bitter situation that has left a horrid taste behind.

When our lives seem void of significance, or we are battling a monstrous illness that consumes all our energy, or depression is sucking stability from our souls, even then, perhaps particularly then, God is still completely at the helm orchestrating his plan in ways we could never imagine. When we think we are permanently out-of-order and sidelined for the season, he declares that to be untrue.

“In an astounding turn of events, when Mary felt defenseless and vulnerable, God used her to bring a large gathering to himself.”

Mary proved this point. She was grappling with both grief over her brother Lazarus’ death and frustration that Jesus never prevented the tragedy. Huddled in her house of mourning, she learnt that Christ was nearby and ran toward him with her ache. The mourners, gathered at her house, followed behind and when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead they were positioned in the front row to personally experience the miracle. In an astounding turn of events, when Mary felt defenseless and vulnerable, God used her to bring a large gathering to himself. “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him…” (John 11:45). In spite of being at her lowest point, God still tapped Mary to draw unbelievers into his kingdom.

Keep Going Regardless

The author of Hebrews identifies precisely what many of us experience. “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with suffering, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated” (Hebrews 10:32-33). The answer for that audience and for us remains the same: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

The Scriptures remind us to keep going, regardless – to endure and stick with it and persevere and push through. Perfection is never a requirement from the Lord. No matter where we are or what we just went through, his Word challenges us to “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Elizabeth A Mitchell

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