The transformation of Paul is a great reminder that God can use us, no matter what. When feelings of “I am not good enough for God to use me” sneak in, remember it is NOT true!
Power, righteousness, absolution, and control. Those were the coveted virtues of Saul of Tarsus. He wielded his certainty of righteousness like a sword, which would cut through the flesh of early Christians. This includes poor Stephen, who is considered the first martyr for God.
Saul extolled his power over the ringleaders of Christ’s church as he imprisoned not just men but women too. Saul tore families apart. He was assured of absolution from all this murder and mayhem because the Hebrew leaders told him he was holy in deeds.
One Story Ends
Then an amazing miracle occurred: transformation.
As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
God stepped in and changed Saul to Paul. Paul who became one of the most influential leaders of the early church, who is responsible for writing between eight and thirteen books of the New Testament. He received grace, mercy, love, and direction. In the end, these were the virtues that led him to eternal life.
Do you feel like me? Too broken, too tired, too useless or too far gone for God to use?
I am so out of sorts right now. Some days I don’t even want to crawl out from under the covers. Laying in bed, eating popcorn, watching Hallmark movies, and daydreaming I am anywhere other than where I am. Being overscheduled, having children, being a wife and teacher can drive me to think I should just give up.
The Transformation Begins
Just last week, in a moment like this, God spoke Paul’s story of transformation to me and reminded me that all is well. I am broken, messy, tired, and self-involved. BUT I am exactly the creation that God can use to spread His word. Hey, I’m talking to you, aren’t I? Amazing!
There is no sin too great, despair too deep, or emptiness too vast in a life that God cannot restore and use for the glory of His Kingdom. My goodness, a scribe of the Word was a murderer, blasphemer, and persecutor of the early church. Saul literally tried to put God’s bride, the Church, to death. And instead, Paul became her champion.
The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
A recent sermon at church was centered around Paul and his good works and motivation to move the early church forward. I admit, I totally checked out as I felt compelled to read the “before” story. How did Paul get to be such a paragon of the church? That’s when God told me… “I will always be able to use you. You are broken, messy, and sinful. But, if I can use Saul, oh how I can use you.” Maybe not out loud, but in a soft whisper in my heart.
Keep Moving Toward God
So, if that is possible, I must submit to the awesome plans of my God and allow Him to be my guide. I can’t give up, though I can rest. I shouldn’t spend so much time regretting where I’m not, but reveling in where I am.
God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time, but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart so that people cannot discover what God has ordained, from the beginning to the end of their lives.
So how do I do that? How can I find the courage to confess my sins of self-indulgence, coveting, and a myriad of other issues I see reflecting back at me on my worst days? How can I feel so worthless and still be an instrument for God?
He Has All the Answers
Starting where I always do with prayer, reflection, and acknowledgment, my transformation can begin…
I will cry out to God and call for help! I will cry out to God and he will pay attention to me.
Please be with me today. I feel super cranky, and don’t even want to get out of bed. I want to lose my patience, yell and cry out that life isn’t fair. Really do I even have to “do” today? I can’t keep up with all of this and the kids, co-workers, family, ALL of IT is more than I can do. I feel like I am failing and falling. Please take it away.
Pity party, that is what I am having. I am focusing on the tasks and not the outcome. You’re right. If my mantra is to be a reflection of Your light in my everyday walk, I need to suck it up.
Forgive me for wishing my circumstances away. Help me use Your gift of today to do better, be better and give better.