September 15, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Lame Man Dancing
Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministry, radio co-host, author, speaker
"I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me - I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me [that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]" (Philippians 4:13 Amplified).
Have you ever sensed God calling you to do something for Him, but felt you weren't capable? If so, you're not alone. I felt the very same way when I sensed God calling me to work with Proverbs 31 Ministries, but he answered my prayer and reassured me through an experience I will never forget.
During the time when I was praying about what God wanted me to do in ministry, my husband and I went away on vacation. On one particular evening, Steve and I went to a beautiful restaurant filled with men and women dressed in their very finest. In one corner of the dining area, a four-man orchestra filled the room with beautiful music. Steve and I had taken a few ballroom dance classes and he wanted us to see if we could remember the Fox Trot. But I didn't want to be the only ones on the dance floor with everyone staring at me. So I agreed to go only if more people were dancing and we could hide among the crowd.
Finally, the first couple approached the floor. They looked like professional dancers, moving as one and never missing a beat. This did not encourage me at all. Then couple number one was joined by couple number two, whose steps weren't quite as perfect.
So I agreed to go...in the back where no one could see us try to make those little boxes with our feet. As we were moving as two, I noticed a fourth couple approach the floor. They came with confidence - no hesitation, no timidity. But there was something very special about this couple. The man was in a wheel chair.
He was a middle-aged, slightly balding man with a neatly trimmed beard. On his left hand, he wore a white glove, I guessed to cover a skin disease. Both were dressed in their evening wear, but the most beautiful part of their dress was the radiant smiles that they were both wearing. Their love for each other lit up the room.
As the band played a peppy beat, the wife held her love's healthy right hand and danced with him. He never did rise from the wheel chair that had become his legs, but they didn't seem to care. They came together and separated like expert dancers. He spun her around as she stooped to conform to her husband's seated position. Lovingly, like a little fairy child, she danced around his chair while he laughed.
My heart was so moved by this love story unfolding before my eyes that I had to turn my head and bury my face on Steve's shoulder so no one would see the tears streaming down my cheeks. As I did, I saw that every person in that dining room had tears trickling down their cheeks. Even the musicians had tears in their eyes.
Then the Lord spoke to my heart in a powerful way.
"Sharon I want you to notice who moved this crowd to tears? Was it couple number one, with their perfect steps? Or was it the last couple who not only did not have perfect steps, but had no steps at all? No, my child, it was the display of love, not perfection that had an effect on the people watching. If you obey Me, I will do it for you just as his wife did it for him."
I was reminded of my friend, Moses, in the Bible. When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of bondage from the Egyptians, he put up quite a fuss. "Who am I?" Moses argued (Exodus 3:11) "I will be with you," God replied (Exodus 3:12). "Suppose they ask your name," Moses continued (Exodus 3:13). "I AM WHO I AM!" God replied (Exodus 14). "What if they do not believe me or listen to me," Moses questioned (Exodus 4:1). "I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" God reassured him (Exodus 4:12).
Moses was full of "what ifs," and God was full of "I will do it for you's." Therein lies the key.
My steps will never be perfect, on a dance floor, or more importantly, in life. But the Lord doesn't expect our steps to be perfect. He's just expects us to listen to His voice, to be obedient, to take the first step of faith, and to let Him do the rest. See, the world isn't looking for perfect people who live in perfect houses with perfect children. They're impressed by love. Genuine God-inspired love. That's what moves a crowd.
That night, God sent a lame man to teach me how to dance.
My Prayer for today:
Dear Lord, I want my life to be defined by obedience to You. Help me to realize that when I feel I cannot do what You've called me to do, it says more about what I believe about You, than what it says about me. Thank You for the assurance that whatever You call me to do, You will equip me to do. Forgive me when I doubt or focus on my inadequacies instead of trusting in You and focusing on Your omnipotence. In Jesus' name, Amen
Write down any promptings from God that you have put on the "back burner" because of your perceived inadequacies.
Make a list of your perceived inadequacies. Now, get a good concordance or book of Bible promises and note how God is sufficient where you are weak.
Make a list of arguments that you might have had if you had been standing where Moses stood, hearing God call you to lead the Israelites from slavery. Read them aloud and imagine what God would say to each of your "excuses."
What does it mean to you when God said His name was "I AM?"
Have you ever argued with God about your inadequacies or tried to rationalize yourself out of obedience? After you ponder that for a moment, look at God's attitude toward Moses in Exodus 4:14.
Now look at Mary's response to the angel Gabriel who told her she was going to conceive a son by the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:38). How was her response different from Moses' response? Which one do you want to emulate?
One more thought. Mary had experienced an incredible miracle in her life with the birth of Jesus. What had she learned about the power of God? (John 2:5)
"Whatever he tells you to do, do it" (John 2:5 NASB).
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." ...For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12, 9, 10 NIV).
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power, and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come" (Ephesians 1: 18-21 NIV).
"I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me-I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me [that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]" (Philippians 4:13 Amplified)
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