Presence Devotion #38

Heidi Waddell

Scripture

Jer 1:5-7

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you and ordained you a prophet to the nations. “Ah, but Lord,” I said, “behold, I cannot speak for I am a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say ‘I am a youth!’ For you shall go to all whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.”

 Insight

Consider a eucalyptus tree. In order for the tree to grow, it must add to its girth, growing a layer of new bark. For this to happen, it must at some point shed its outer layer. For it to expand, it must shed. Our faith can be the same. As we grow and expand, we shed. When we give ourselves over to God, we cannot expect to be fully grown all at once. We start out as a fresh sapling, and as our faith matures, we begin to shed the dead parts that cling on from our past. This can be a painful and often noisy process, which can leave us feeling exposed and raw.

Jesus wants you to speak for Him just as you are. We will without doubt at times experience growing pains in our faith journey. It is easy then, if we are young, to feel as though we are not yet qualified to share because we feel we lack talent, training, ability or perhaps stand in a place of obscurity, not feeling as though we have the charisma to communicate what we know in our hearts. Isaiah 42:3 states: ‘A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.’

God does not consider you unable to carry out His plans and purposes. If you feel weak, beaten or near defeat, He has not disqualified you. In fact, it is the opposite. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:19)You are not exempt from this. His word speaks to us all.

If we wait until we feel ready, then this life will quickly be over and we will find that we have not moved from where we have sat waiting. ‘He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favourable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.’ (Ecc. 11:4)

He is constantly growing you, maturing you and expanding your abilities as he strips away all of the old life that tries to cling on. ‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.’ 2 Cor. 4:16

And if we have been long serving in the faith, and the rings in our trunks are plenty as the years we have persevered for the sake of the gospel, do not forget the things that God has shown you. You are tall and your branches are wide. Speak with the wisdom and understanding you have gained. Share the perspective that you have gathered from the heights you have risen to. ‘The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” ‘(Ps. 92:12-15) And again, if you feel that over time you have become weary, feeling as though all usefulness has been wasted away, remember the Lord has said, ‘Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.’ (Isa. 46:4).

There is no point in our journey during life on earth that God is finished with us. Continue to seek His will and plans, and speak when His Spirit prompts you. Act the same, and if neither come, love and keep loving, for that is a commandment and purpose we carry which is infallible and unending.

Reflective Questions

  1.  At what points in your faith journey so far have you felt the pains of growing?
  2. Can you reflect on what God has done in you so far to mature your faith?
  3. How can you speak for Christ where you are now?
  4. What layer of the old life is God working from you?