Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021
God is Not Done with You
If you are still breathing, God is not done with you! That idea has blessed me my entire life. In my current struggle with grief, I hear God saying to me once again, “I am not finished with you!”
When I failed as a young man, the Inner Voice said, “Walter, I am not done with you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get up and I will help you take the next step on this journey I have planned for you.” Those words gave me the courage to believe that the Living God would not give up on me until the final curtain is drawn.
Whatever your age or situation, I dare you to believe that God is not done with you! Run from self-pity and self-despising. Laugh at your troubles and see in the midst of life’s storms that your heavenly Father is still working on you! Clear the runway and give the God who loves you a chance to make you what he wants you to be! Keep on yielding to the Potter who is able to shape you into the beautiful person he wants you to be! He can use your pain and heartache to make you a better person.
Right now you may be miserable, disillusioned, depressed, angry or ready to give up. I have been there. All those feelings have been mine. But as I struggled with life’s hard issues, I became conscious that God was still working on me.
That became a profound insight: God is not done with me. That I am still alive is God’s will. In all my circumstances, God is using my problems to sand off my rough edges. I am like clay in the hands of a potter. I am a miserable, broken pot but he has not thrown me away in disgust. So, if God had hope for me, I can have some hope for myself. That small hope grows as I feel his hands shaping me.
As our boys grew up, the pressures of parenting and pastoral ministry created more stress than I could handle. Flat on my back in a hospital, diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and 45 years old, I was one miserable human being. I was a wreck. One minute I was scared I was going to die; the next minute I wanted to die. My life was over. I was a failure as a father and as a pastor.
Then I felt his hands upon me; I began to believe God was molding me into a vessel he could use. One more time my sense of unworthiness was overcome by the reality that God was still working on me. To my miserable, broken spirit God whispered, “I am not done with you.” As I slowly regained my health, I found new confidence in my gifts for ministry.
Then I hit the wall again. After serving several churches effectively, I failed to build the support I needed in my next appointment. Conflict with key leaders of the church led to my being reassigned to another church after only two years. This time, more than ever before, I struggled with self-despising, depression and self-pity but the Lord rescued me again. Despite my mistakes and poor judgment, God had mercy on me. Joy in ministry returned. Once again, I was aware that God was not done with me!
Pondering my death is not depressing. The fact that I am still alive reminds me that God is not done with me. That excites me. I know that God wants to make me more like Christ. And since that work is not done yet, I need to surrender more fully, daily, to his transforming power.