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Rebuke For the Strong, Rejoicing For the Weak

When I was in college, I went overseas for almost 5 months to India with a program called Fusion. My team traveled to a new location every week to train and equip local congregations in strategies to reach their neighbors and plant churches. We were up in the mountains training all day for four days. We were excited by the turnout on day one, when about twenty men and ten women showed up. We spent three days teaching the Scriptures and demonstrating the importance of sharing the Gospel. At the end of day three, we asked everyone to come tomorrow to travel into their villages and share the Gospel.

The next day, we woke up hopeful and excited about what the Lord might do with all the people at the training. Only three women showed up. No men. Discouraged and angry with the people, we thought, “We spent all of this time with them and they didn’t even care!” We even talked about not going at all because one woman’s village was a 45 minute hike into the rainy mountains. If the people didn’t want to go, why should we? Reluctantly, we decided to go.

After the hike, we arrived in the village cold, tired, and frustrated. The team split up. I had a translator and one of the women in my group. I told the woman I would share the Gospel at the first house and she could watch how I did it. In the training we had taught her how to share the Gospel through drawing a story on a piece of paper so that the other person could easily follow. Still mad at how the day unfolded, I went through the presentation as quickly as possible. I said all the right lines and followed the training perfectly. The person I shared with argued against me and wanted nothing to do with the Gospel. So, we went to the next house. On the way there I told the woman it was her turn.

Now, about the woman I was with: She had a rare condition in which all the water in her body was sucked into her stomach. It gave her the appearance of being pregnant while her arms and legs were skin and bones. This all made her very weak (although she did the hike without complaining once!). She looked feeble and had no strength about her. She was small in stature and in command. When I told her it was her turn to share, she immediately stopped and begged that she wouldn’t have to do it. She didn’t know how to do it, didn’t think she could do it well enough, thought it would be better received by the foreigner…etc. Plus, this was her village, so the people already knew her story. Finally, I told her coldly, that the whole purpose of the training was to teach her how to do it and now I commanded her; it was her turn.

Reluctantly, we went into the house. She took out a piece of paper and a pen and began to draw the story. The paper shook in her hands and her voiced quivered and cracked in fear. She repeatedly scratched out the drawing, apologized to the other woman and I, and started over. After multiple mulligans and what seemed like an eternity, she finished. When she finished, I uncomfortably looked up to see the reaction of the woman she was sharing with. In that moment I saw something that would forever change my understanding of God. I saw a changed heart. The woman she was sharing with was weeping. At the end of the Gospel presentation this feeble, weak, small, scared woman asked the crying woman if she wanted to repent and believe. To my shame, she said yes.

I was humiliated and in tears. I found my team and reported what happened and we all prayed, rejoiced, and cried together. We had been frustrated about having to go to this village. We were angry that no men had shown up. We were wondering why God would allow only the weak women to show up and care about sharing the Gospel. Little did we know that God had appointed the salvation of someone in that village, not through the mouth of the strong and wise Americans, but the weak and feeble woman. That day I learned one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned: God is big and He doesn’t need me.

Maybe you read this and you identified with me. Maybe you’re used by God, but you’re self-assured, arrogant, and confident in yourself. My rebuke to you is this: God is big, and He doesn’t need you. God is in the business of humbling the proud. My prayer for you today is that you would humble yourself before God does it for you. Remember who He is. Repent, turn from your evil ways, and acknowledge Him as supreme. Because if you don’t, I promise, He will use the weak to your shame.

Maybe you read this and you identified with the woman. Maybe you want to be used by God but you’re timid, scared, feeble, and weak. My exhortation for you is this: God is big, and He can use you. God is in the business of exalting the weak. My prayer for you today is that you would find comfort in the strength of God. Remember who He is. Rejoice, turn to God, and acknowledge your need for His strength. Because if you do, I promise, He will use even you.

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'”

– 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

Marty Beamer is the Assistant Pastor at FCC and teaches Rhetoric and Worldview at Faith Christian Academy. He will graduate with a Masters of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in December of 2017. He is married to Jessica and they have one son, Oliver.

Posted in: Christian Living, Evangelism, missions

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