God Uses Our Weaknesses!
By Dot Bowen
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 (ESV)
I have spent most of my life feeling stupid. I have come to realize everyone has moments when they feel stupid, but I long for the day when those moments are few and far between. God has surrounded me with some of the most intelligent and gifted people. When someone feels inadequate to accomplish even the most insignificant things, being surrounded by gifted and highly intelligent people is a constant reminder of how little you have to offer. I married one of the smartest men I know. Howard graduated from Georgia Tech with honors, and I didn’t even go to college. I frequently say Howard knows what rain is made of, and I know how to get out of the rain! As a matter of fact, I’ve hidden behind laughter when I say or do things that make me feel stupid. I only recently decided to be honest and begin sharing how hurt I am when others joke about my inability to pronounce certain words. No one laughed harder than me when I would say or do certain things, and no one cried as much as I did when I was alone and overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. I should win an Academy Award for Best Actress for the ability to hide behind my broken heart. When I finally confessed how stupid and hurt I felt to my friends, they had no idea I really wasn’t laughing with them. But God knew! I pray every day and ask God to help me say certain words and to give me His wisdom and strength as I faced what I believe to be the impossible. I still face this struggle—even today!
We read in the book of Acts that Peter and John preached Jesus is the Messiah. Those listening were astonished because Peter and John were uneducated and common I had to stop and think about this for a few minutes as I began to understand God changed the world with twelve men who were uneducated and untrained. And then Moses came to mind; Moses begged God to allow his brother to be the spokesperson to the Israelites because of Moses’ own insecurities. I literally sat for a few minutes reflecting on how God uses the weak to show He is strong and the uneducated to confuse the wise. Tears fill my eyes as I realize God desires to use me even if I can’t correctly pronounce words. God can use my common, uneducated life to bring others to Jesus. God wants to take what we see as weaknesses and give them purpose and power.
Think about yourself for a few moments. What is holding you back from trusting God to use your struggles to lead others to Jesus? Do you believe you are not good enough to be used by God? Why or why not? Read Acts 4 and underline the words uneducated and common. Reflect on the change these men made in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit and write down your thoughts.
As I read about the lives of Peter, John, and Moses, I realized it’s a choice to allow God to use my life rather than continue making excuses for my life. We’ll all have moments when we have to choose how we want to be remembered. Do we want to be remembered as an educated, trained, woman who was a stranger to faith or uneducated woman who relied on Jesus to accomplish His purpose in her life? Do we want to be remembered by the college we attended or by the wisdom offered every morning when we seek the God who knows all things? Do I want to astonish people with my intellect or astonish people with the wisdom and power of God? I suddenly realized I could hide behind my laughter and continue to be the center of attention or humble myself in the presence of God and let Him be the center of attention. I can tell myself every day I am smart and try to make myself feel better, or I can tell myself in my weakness God is made strong and allow God to use my life for His glory.
For many years I believed God could never use me because I wasn’t smart or gifted enough. I’m done with that lie. I’m going to trust God to do more in my life than I could ever humanly imagine. God is the God of the impossible. What do you want but fear you can’t do? No one is more astonished than me when I hear others say they see Jesus in me and they want to know Him more. Now that really makes me laugh. Our world needs Jesus, not educated or gifted people. God wants to use the very things we see as weakness to display His power.
Further Reading Acts 4; Exodus 4:10-31