“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
Not good enough, not strong enough, not fast enough, not pretty enough, not brave enough, not decisive enough… Not this, not that, too much of this, too little of that. Comparisons are devastating to a fragile person with an inferiority complex, am I right? I’m sure all of us at some point have been told that we do not measure up, or we’ve deduced it for ourselves, or there is this deep understanding buried somewhere inside of us that we absolutely do not have what it takes. If we’re being honest, “fragile” and “inferior” describes 100% of Earth’s population. Still we believe that we should be better, could be better than we are. If we just studied harder, or worked out more, or wore more makeup, or bought nicer clothes, something would change in us that would instill some extra bit of value. Until we reach that mythical point of “better” however, we compare ourselves with people we deem as superior, people who are better/faster/stronger/smarter/prettier etc.
I bet I can say with certainty too that most of us have heard people say “God loves you just as you are” or “God can use you just like you are”. I always snarfled at those statements. (Google tells me “snarfled” is not a word, but I’m going to use it anyway) In my mind there was always a subtext to those statements that spoiled the sentiment. Sure God can use me as I am, and He loves me, but if there were someone better or more qualified, they should totally get first dibs on God’s blessing and cool God-assignments, like a moral 007. He would probably love me more if I were less inept/fallible/goofy too, or at least more satisfied with my “job performance”.
Personally, this feeling of inadequacy causes me to gravitate toward what I do well, and focus on it almost exclusively. I do pretty well, I succeed, I make decent art, and people tell me I do a good job. The problem is I did all that. I. Me. By my lonesome. I didn’t need anyone because I was qualified, and I considered that a good thing. The problem is that I didn’t need God’s power and transforming grace and strength to do that either.
We’re getting very close to a prominent theme found throughout scripture that speaks volumes-beyond-imagining about our God. God chose fallible, ill-equipped individuals to represent Him and His people expressly because they were fallible and ill-equipped. Scaredy-cat Abraham, Sneaky Jacob, Boastful Joseph, Muttering Moses, Headstrong Samson, Proud Paul, stinky fisherman, money-grubbers, thieves, prostitutes… But if God had the option I’m sure he would have picked more appropriate, qualified people to do His bidding… right?
I hope that question hangs heavy on you. Would God choose a qualified, well-equipped individual over one lacking the required skills/giftings/confidence if he had the option? I say no. I say, like I Cor 1:27, that God purposefully chooses the foolish, weak, ill-equipped things that lack confidence and self-assurance to school the parts of the world that think they have it all together, and to show them what the limitless power of God can do in a vessel with plenty of space for God.
This is on purpose, this is not God settling for you. This is not “the last kid picked for dodgeball”, this is the creator of the universe rummaging through the dumpster to find discarded, unique people that He can make something out of. This is God scooping his hand through the muck of a stream bed to pull out a handful of dirty clay and saying, “Watch what I can do with this!”, instead grabbing a finished statue off the shelf. This is the story of redemption! And the more aware we are of our need for redemption, the stronger and greater its power to change, and the greater the glory for the God who made it all happen. (Actually, it was always the people who had it together the most who had the farthest to go in order to be used by God)
This process is just as much for our benefit as for His. Instead of just being average, ordinary, moderately good people, we can be extraordinary. And God wants to make us extraordinary because we can never be that on our own. God didn’t choose you DESPITE your shortcomings and failures, He chose you BECAUSE of them. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. He doesn’t look at you and wish you had more ability, instead He is begging for you to give him your shortcomings so he can make something great out of them. The more you have to hand over to God, the greater the return. If you are fragile and inferior, and deep down in your soul you know you are lacking in all the ways that count, then you are a gold-mine of opportunity for God’s mercy and grace – and that’s exactly what He’s looking for. He’s looking for you.