April 6, 2012

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Remember God can work with you—no matter what

Patti LambIn one of my favorite movies, there is a scene where a distinguished and

high-society man reveals to a disheveled woman that he likes her very much.

Then he pauses and emphatically adds, “Just as you are.”

When the woman later relays this encounter to her friends, they marvel that he would accept her in her present state, and not more refined.

That kind of affirmation doesn’t come often—or easy—these days. Modern society holds us to much higher standards. And if perfection doesn’t come naturally to us, there are plenty of products that we can buy to make us better.

The good news is that God doesn’t expect as much. He only asks us to use what we have and to do our best with it.

Father Noah Casey, rector of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, put it best when he spoke during a Lenten mission at St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield a few weeks ago.

He said, “However you are, God can work with that.”

Father Casey explained to us that God would like to use us—just as we are—to further his mission here on Earth.

My thoughts turn to St. Peter, the rock on whom our Church was built. In Scripture, we read of him repeatedly failing and often lacking faith. Some people might say that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.

But God chose Peter. God would accomplish great things through this ordinary man.

And to me, that sends a message much like the one that Father Casey reminded us about—God can work with us, no matter what our weaknesses or shortcomings may be.

Sometimes we might wonder why God would want to use us. We are just average people living in Indiana. We tell ourselves that we are too old or too young. We are too shy or too outspoken. We eat or drink too much. We aren’t holy enough.

But we must remember that God chose to use a simple, uneducated fisherman to spread our faith.

Our Savior and King was born in a stable and put to death on a cross. He never donned an elegant robe, and the only crown he ever wore was made of thorns. That’s not the kind of reign that I would expect for the Son of God.

But I think our awesome God is proving a point. It’s not always how we think it should be. I once read that our human minds are finite, but the mind of God is infinite.

Sometimes I’m disappointed that I am not where I thought I would be in life. But maybe I’m right where God wants me to be.

God can work with us and through us. Wherever we are on our journeys, he will meet us there.

God doesn’t just work through those in the spotlight. He works through sales representatives, teachers, secretaries, machinists and accountants.

He works through those struggling with sin, and even those lost sheep who wander from the flock.

He uses ordinary people to build his kingdom. Father Casey’s words echo in my mind—“However you are, God can work with that.”

We stand a chance after all.

Do we underestimate the work of God’s hands—our very selves? Perhaps our Creator sees more potential in us than we see in ourselves. That thought renewed my hope.

And renewed hope is what Easter is all about.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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