I want to start by wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year! I pray that you would know God’s peace, love and joy as you journey through this year.
In my last blog I mentioned that I can get overwhelmed by all the busyness and things to remember and do at Christmas that I struggle to take it all in and connect with. So this year I really made an effort to slow down and to focus on remembering why as Christians we celebrate Christmas. This time as I was hearing the familiar Christmas story and singing carols I’ve sang hundreds of times before, I was listening with fresh ears and an open heart. As I was singing at church on Christmas day something really resonated with me. And that was how every part of God’s amazing rescue plan was steeped in his message of grace – it was unexpected, counter-cultural, and seemingly impossible, yet it defeated the power of death and brought us the incredible gift of eternal life and a healed relationship with God.
I couldn’t help but be so encouraged and inspired as I saw with new eyes the way God used ordinary people that society tried to limit to show his grace, mercy, humility and love. We live in a world of limitations where society has tried to box us in telling us that unless we look a certain way are a certain age or have a certain IQ we are useless. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when someone auditioning on a TV music talent shows says ‘I am 28 – this is my last chance to make it’! Why? This has become the norm and I continually hear people saying things like ‘God could never use me, I’m too old – what have I got to give?’ We put limitations on the youth – ‘what do they know, they can’t understand’. People count themselves out by deciding their past disqualifies them from a relationship with God, and God could never forgive them and they can’t forgive themselves. But this is completely missing the true meaning of Christmas.
Just take a look at the Bible – it’s jam-packed full of God smashing through earthly limitations. Abraham and Sarah were past child bearing years but God gave them a son and incredible promise of generations through them. David was the youngest and least of his brothers, yet was chosen by God to be King of Israel. Joseph was sold into slavery but ended up delivering his people from famine and saving Egypt. Elijiah suffered from depression but God used him as a powerful prophet. Mary was a young, humble, unmarried teenager, yet she was chosen to carry the Saviour of the world! She had to give birth in a stable, they were refugees in Egypt. Jesus was the saviour of the world but was sent as a helpless babe and not the ‘mighty warrior to overthrow Rome that was expected, yet God fulfilled his rescue plan through Jesus. Peter was an uneducated fisherman but ‘the rock on which God built the church’. Paul (Saul) was an extreme enemy of Christians as he condemned them to death, yet ended up being one of the most influential people in the Bible. I could go on!
The world scorned all of these people and saw their limitations. What would have happened if they believed the world rather than God? If they had excused themselves from God’s plan – “Sorry, I am too young, weak, old, uneducated.”?
You need to know that God is not the one putting limitations on your life. We have a choice to either refuse to be labelled by our limitations and trust that the God of the unlimited is stronger and has amazing plans for our lives, or we can use our circumstances as an excuse to feel intimidated and afraid that we might fail.
I know in my own life there have been plenty of limitations that I could have been trapped by – I have struggled with chronic illness, depression, anxiety and miscarriage. Yet I have seen such incredible healing, breakthrough and joy simply because the God I believe in smashes through these limitations when we ask Him.
I want to encourage you this New Year to not be limited by your age, circumstances, or anything else, but to learn to see how God sees you, and to believe the promises and callings He has for your life. Stepping into what He is asking you to do is to join forces with the God of the impossible and unlimited.
May God bless you and lead you in all you do, Kat