On a warm May night, 1300 miles from home, I heard a speaker recount his call to establish a church building ministry in India.
The scope was huge and he recalled praying, “God, this is too big. I can’t do this.”
He said he heard a still small voice reply, “Good, I can.”
He went on to tell of lessons he learned in that experience of following a call much larger than himself. Two stood out to me like they had been bathed in a spotlight:
1. “If you tell people your vision and they don’t laugh, your vision isn’t big enough.”
2. “All of life is about scaling cliffs, but moving with God means you’ll never climb alone.”
I sat there thinking, “My vision isn’t big enough.”
And then I told God, “Whatever you want from me, I will do it. I just want to know where you want me. PLEASE speak!”
Following a Vision
Fast-forward a couple of months and we had moved 1300 miles to live in the city where I heard those words.
Many back home thought we had lost our minds. But we knew we were supposed to go.
We had a “Go and I’ll show the rest when you get there” kind of call. (I quoted Genesis 12:1 often.)
It was an exhilarating time — one of those rare moments in life when you see evidence of God directing your steps.
Every detail lined up and everywhere we turned we saw His answer to prayer.
Scaling Cliffs and Falling Down
It turned out that although following the call was exciting, fulfilling the call was exhausting.
Leaving the flatlands of Texas for the foothills in Virginia, we began to understand the climbing analogy on a whole new level.
Life seemed to always be uphill.
The next few years were a test of endurance and we sometimes wondered if we had indeed heard God correctly.
Just when I thought I had finished climbing hills and scaling cliffs, I fell back to the bottom of the mountain.
Or more specifically, I fell to the bottom of my stairs at home.
Exactly three years from the night of my prayer, “Use me,” I lay in a whole new state of seemingly “unusable.”
Broken bones. Emergency surgery. Setbacks and a long recovery.
As I watched opportunities slip out of my hands, my heart followed my flesh to the bottom of the mountain.
And there I stayed for a while, begging to understand, questioning God’s timing, and feeling forgotten, broken, and useless.
I learned much in that valley at the bottom of the cliff.
But this post isn’t about those lessons. No, I share here for a much different reason.
I share here to say: In God’s economy nothing is wasted.
I share here to say: If you are wondering if He can and will still use you, the answer is YES.
I share here to say: It may just be your pain and your struggle that gives birth to your most effective ministry yet.
That is what happened for me.
As I began to limp out of the darkness and write about the struggle, I noticed some fellow travelers were limping behind and beside me.
As I rubbed my scars and recounted the Healer’s touch, others came near to listen, viewing those wounds as credentials and opening the door for me to speak truth.
My eyes were opened and I saw that I had never walked alone. And perhaps even more importantly: He still had a calling for me to fulfill.
If you still have breath, He still has a purpose for you fulfill
Have you just left one season of life and are struggling to find your purpose in another?
Do you have past failures or recent falls that have seemingly had the final say?
Are you waiting in winter with no sign of spring?
Take heart, dear friend.
God can and will redeem it all.
Beauty from ashes. New mercies. Renewed vision.
That setback is just a set-up for Him to reveal Himself in a deeper way than you ever knew before.
It is not over. He is not done.
If you still have breath, He still has a purpose for you to fulfill.
The waiting is not easy, but it will be worth it.
And if along this journey you find yourself crying, “God, this is too much. I can’t do it myself,” listen for that still small voice to whisper back: “Good. I can.”