This Sunday, we had a memorial at our church for one of our congregation who passed away a little over a week ago: a great woman of God. There were lots of testimonials from members of the church as to her character, her love of Jesus and the impact she had on others throughout her Christian walk despite facing hardships of her own. It made me think about what people might say about me when I die. I asked myself, ‘Am I worthy of such tributes?’ and the answer was a resounding, ‘No!’. “Why can’t I be more like her?” I thought. “Why am I not as fearless and faithful as she was?”
The answer came back: I am constantly growing into the person God created me to be. I cannot be anyone else, and neither should I aspire to be. God’s eyes saw my unformed body and all the days ordained for me were written in His book before any of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). I am fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful (Psalm 139:14).
It is not for us to question The Potter when He is moulding us into the person He wants us to be. We just need to be open to the shape He is forming us into (Isaiah 18:6 & 64:8). We are all at different stages of our walk with Him and so, we do ourselves no favours when we compare ourselves to each other. We are also given different gifts according to the grace given each of us (Romans 12: 6) so we should not feel envious of others’ gifting, but rather seek, or utilise, our own as God leads. Each joint supplies, as my own pastor tells us frequently, and every part of the body does its share (Ephesians 4: 16 NKJV). We are one body and God arranged each member as He chose (1 Corinthians 12: 18).
A friend of mine wrote a poem decades ago that really stuck with me. It’s opening line, if I
remember correctly, was, ‘I am where You placed me’. Wherever you are, that is where God
wants you to be at this moment in time. Tomorrow may be different, certainly next year will be and in a decade, who knows? One thing we do know is that the race we are running (Hebrews 12: 1) is linear and the only way to get to the finish line is to move forward. The NKJV tells us that we are to run it with endurance. We need to keep on keeping on, no matter the obstacles in our way.
When you start running, as with any exercise, your muscles are weak and your stamina lacking. The more you run, the stronger your muscles become and your stamina increases. I tried running once, for about 2 weeks (!), and I gave up as it was too hard. I did NOT endure! I have, however, at times, held on to my faith by my fingernails with a determination I could not have maintained on my own. When we run the Christian race, we have a running partner: the Holy Spirit. He encourages, disciplines, comforts, guides and often times pokes us into action. I thank God that He gave us the Holy Spirit!
So, while I may look to others for inspiration, I will look to God for my calling. He knows my
character, he knows my history, he knows my strengths and my failings. I cannot become
something He has not created me to be and so I will look upon people like the lady we had a memorial for with admiration rather than envy, for she ran her race well using all the tools God equipped her with and her light shone brightly for everyone to see as she ran it, without shame or compromise. My race course is different as are the tools I am equipped with but I will run it as best as I can, shining God’s light through the cracks of my very imperfect jar of clay (2 Corinthians 4: 7). Will I always consider her character as I run it? For sure (although I only knew her for a matter of months). She has spurred me on in my own race, as I hope I can do for someone else one day. Keep pressing on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3: 14), Church, but do it in your own distinctive style!.