Thursday, February 4, 2016

Useless, yet wanted

A few months ago, my tooth broke. Eight years of pregnancies and nursing can do that, apparently. Being awful at taking (postpartum) vitamins did not help, I'm sure.

For weeks, I preserved that piece of broken tooth like a priceless treasure. I painstakingly made sure I would not lose it before the dentist appointment. That thing had been attached to me for nearly three decades. It was a part of me. I'm sure the dentist would find some use it, somehow.

The appointment day arrived. I carefully presented the tooth to my dentist. She did not take her eyes off me as I jiggled the tiny zip-lock bag in front of her. Don't you want to see this important specimen? She continued listing my options, and none of them included using my tooth.

I hate useless things. And I am sad that my tooth is now useless.

My tooth in a zip-lock bag.

All of us want to be used by God. We want our lives to mean something. We don't want to miss out on God's purposes for us. So, we ask, what is God's will for my life?

To be used by God, however, is not that special. The Lord can use anything, anyone. In fact, he uses everything for his glory. He used the hard heart of the pharaoh and the betrayal of Judas for his purposes. He can speak through anyone; he spoke through a donkey. So, it is not a special thing to be used by God.

Mark, though he wrote the shortest of the four gospels, he often embedded details within his stories that other writers did not. For example, it is Mark who tells us that Jesus not only called the rich man to sell all his possessions, but Jesus loved him. It is also Mark who tells us that Jesus not only called his disciples to him, but he desired them. Jesus, the Maker of Stars, wanted them.

Being wanted by God far surpasses being used by God.

Jesus did not call his disciples to use them. He did not need them. He called them to follow him, to be with him, because he loved them and he wanted them. Some followed Jesus not for his sake, but for their own ambitions. Jesus wanted Judas, but Judas wanted other things.

The reality is that we are dust. Like my broken tooth, we are useless to him. Yet, he wants us. He makes us his. He died so we can be with him, to be a part of him.

In the scope of eternity, it would not matter that I had lived. No matter what I achieve in this life, even if it was for "the glory of God," it would not matter that I existed. My footprints will not stay on the sand. I matter only because I am wanted and loved by the Maker of Stars.

When Elisabeth Elliot turned 65, she said, one of the splendors of being old is the heightened perspective on all of life. The higher she went, the more she could see. The things of the earth became strangely small. "There is only one thing in the whole universe that matters," she said, and that is to know God.

Betty Scott Stam was a missionary to China. In December 1934, Betty and her husband John were captured by the Communists, and paraded through the streets in their undergarments. They were then beheaded.

Betty wrote this prayer when she was eighteen:
I give up all my own plans and purposes,
All my own desires and hopes,
And accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all,
Utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.
Use me as Thou will,
Send me where Thou will,
And work out Thy whole will in my life,
At any cost, now and forever.
Elisabeth read this prayer and then copied it into her Bible when she was twelve. These women gave up their own plans and purposes, all of their desires and hopes. They gave themselves to him, to be his forever. And they accepted God's will for their lives.

God's will for them, and for us, is to know him. God's purpose for us is to conform us into the image of his Son. God is calling us to follow him, and to obey him in small, ordinary things.

Take me, Lord, I am yours.


Thomas.Laura Tsen said...

Thank you Ling for this inspiring sharing. Papa Mama are really being reminded and blessed by Ling's sharing. Praise the Lord!

Irene Sun said...

Dearest Pa and Ma, I am from you and a part of you. You taught me everything I know. =) Thank you for reading!!!! <3 said...

Wow. Thank you for this. I needed it today.