As a little girl in first grade, I was so shy that I hung against the wall of school building every recess. Having compassion on me, my teacher would choose students at each break and make them play with me. The idea of having to interact and talk with others tore away at my stomach until my doctor put me on medication to prevent an ulcer—I was 6 years old.
My son couldn’t speak at all until he was 5 years old. Specialists said he was mentally retarded. Lots of stimuli sent him into off-the-charts tantrums and fits. He often shook things in front of his face and seemed detached and distant from the world.
We never saw ourselves as public speakers. At the time, no one else did either.
But God did.
Shortly after I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was watching a video of a Christian Bible teacher, who was speaking and teaching. Somewhere in the middle of that video, I sensed the Lord telling me, “That will be you some day.”
Really?! I thought.
That was 18 years ago, and now it is happening. My son Patrick and I are speaking publicly, sharing our story of hope and encouragement, testifying to the power and grace of God.
This past weekend, we spoke at the District Convention of North Carolina West Civitan. We felt at home standing on the platform, speaking into the microphone, and sharing what God has done.
God Uses the Weak
I heard once at church that “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” In other words, He takes our weakness and uses it for His glory. The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV).
Gideon was hiding from his enemies when God called him a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12), even though Gideon told the Lord that his clan was the weakest in Manassah, and he was the least in his family (Judges 6:15). David’s daddy didn’t even think about bringing him before the prophet Samuel for consideration as the future king because David was the youngest, and he was a shepherd, the lowest job in the family (1 Samuel 16:10-11).
God uses the weak so that we and others can realize that “our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5, NASB). On weakness is the stage on which the Lord can display His mighty power, “so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB).
God Fulfills His Plans
We are told in the scriptures, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV). What God plans, He does. It is not up to us to make things happen. The Lord accomplishes what He desires. “The Lord Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen’” (Isaiah 14:24, NIV).
The Lord works everything according to His perfect plan . . . and His perfect timing. David waited 14 years after he was anointed until he became king. In the meantime, the Lord used David’s experiences during that time to shape him for the position. David learned a great deal about the Lord during that time, which helped him as he later led the nation of Israel.
I know the Lord has shaped and taught me and Patrick during the past 18 years. So many of those lessons are recorded in our new book, OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM. Now, we are sharing those truths at our speaking engagements.
God Sees the Eternal
In the end, this is what the Lord said about David: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22, NIV). We are also told, “David had served God’s purpose in his own generation” (Acts 13:36, NIV).
David knew of the love, grace, power, and faithfulness of God. He responded by allowing God to use his life as He desired.
In the midst of our challenges and turmoils, our joys and triumphs, our eternal God is working out His eternal purposes—in and through us. He sees the end from the beginning, and He is working everything together for good (Romans 8:28) . . . because He is good.
May we each allow the Lord, who sees the eternal perspective, to work out His purposes in our lives.
Question: How have you seen the Lord working out His eternal purposes in your life, and in the lives of others? Comment at the link below.