Sometimes, the only limitations that we have are the ones that we put on ourselves!
I recently learned this lesson yet again when I was at a youth conference in June and attended the Wednesday evening praise service. I looked around the auditorium and I could see that it was full of young people from all over the country! As we sang together, the presence of the Lord was leading me to pray for the young people there.
When the music became softer, I heard a kind of loud, deep moaning from a male voice on my left, coming from the other side of the room. I could barely make out the sounds then I realized it was the same words that I was singing. I found myself listening harder as I looked around and found a young man who was in a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy, and he was singing with all that was within him! It could have been perceived as disruptive but as I listened, it was an outpouring of pure love - eyes closed, arms up, this young man held nothing back! His heart was fixed on Jesus as the author and perfecter of his faith! He brought more than a song as his groans and words filled the auditorium and touched the hearts of all who heard him that night!
As I continued to listen, I realized that the measure of my hope, endurance, faith, and trust in God are made evident by not only what I give to God, how I give to God, but most importantly, why I give to God. Too many times I have allowed my weaknesses or let my lack become an excuse not to be my best OR not to give my best to God. That has an impact that comes at a cost!
This young man reminded me of that and showed me more truth that I need to take to heart:
1 - In his pursuit of God, I took a look at myself and saw just how much I have let my excuses keep me from being faithful with all that God has given to me and entrusted me with. (Ouch!)
2 - God doesn’t ask me to give to Him more than I have.
I might think He does but the truth is that He knows my limitations and has promised not to give me more than I can handle.
1 Cor. 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
This is protection from temptation to be less than He has called me to be and provision for endurance!
3 - He simply wants all that I am and all that He has given me, for all that He has in mind for me to be!
15 “See, I have placed before you today life and happiness, and death and adversity, 16 in that I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, so that you may live and become numerous, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to take possession of it.
This is the position for blessings and the purpose of faith!
After the conference, I asked my daughter who he was and she told me that his name was Joe. She said that he was a powerful prayer warrior for their church’s prayer ministry. He has led prayer for thousands of young people at a large outreach in Kansas City, he has a degree in theology, and is studying for His doctorate. He is a blessed gift to their church, community, and the young men and women at that conference!
My heart was checked and impacted by Joe and he doesn’t even know me! I am both amazed and challenged by his courage and confidence in the Lord. He doesn’t let his physical limitations (or any other limitations) become an excuse to settle for less than ALL that God has given to him! He loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength! He gives his best to God! He gives his all to God!
On this side of the conference, I am thankful that God never fails to patiently teach me, even when I have failed him. He faithfully puts someone in my path whose obvious daily challenges far outweigh my momentary difficulties. In that, He reminds me that my perspective needs to be changed quickly, my heart needs to be humbled immediately, and my thoughts need to become repentant for my ungrateful attitude.
I am thankful for Joe’s faithfulness!
As I look at his life, all I can say is WOW!
So what’s my excuse?!