People are quicker to discount us than they are to simply lift us up with encouragement. Wear the wrong t-shirt and get criticized. Your loving actions have been forgotten. We are a nitpicking people. We look at others with such negative thoughts. They don't have to be spoken through gossip. Thinking them is enough to destroy a person. A look can say a thousand words.
Friends, we are never too far gone to find God's grace. God can use every single one of us. How do I know? Rahab. Rahab was a prostitute. She was not a woman of faith until God's perfect timing. That didn't mean He couldn't use her. It didn't mean He didn't have plans for her. I can imagine many people had given up on Rahab. All people were seeing were her sinful actions. They didn't know her heart. They didn't know what God knew.
That should add a giddy-up in our step. Every single one of us has a story. Every single one of us was created by God. The circumstances we think we see tell very little about the heart which is unseen by us who tend to nitpick people to death.
Think there was gossip surrounding Rahab? I imagine there were folks who thought she was unusable. Maybe they thought she was all used up. But Rahab's story doesn't begin with her being a prostitute, nor does it end with her being a prostitute. We don't know why she turned to prostitution. But we do know God changed her and took her away from that lifestyle. She may not have had a relationship with God, but He had His eye on her nonetheless.
Within the Book of Ruth we meet Boaz. We read that his father was Salmon. It doesn't name his mother until the Book of Matthew. "Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king." Matthew 1:5 Wow! Who would have thought a harlot by the name of Rahab would be listed in the lineage of our Savior? He did! He knew Rahab before she entered into this world. He created her for greatness. He laid out His plans for her life.
There are times I wonder why in the world God would want to use me. That really isn't a fair question. God doesn't create junk. He doesn't make a mess of things. What He does do is create each of us with purpose. His plans are precise. He doesn't make mistakes. Rahab may have fallen into prostitution, but she too found found God through events that touched her life.
Remember the spies and how she helped them? (Judges 2) Rahab put her own life on the line. The blessings of one scarlet cord. Joshua was to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River into the land of Canaan. He had sent out spies to investigate the land. Rahab held an intricate part in that plan. This is the day the Lord had been preparing Rahab for. I see her as a brave woman. A woman who made a difference. A woman who God created for greatness.
"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." Psalm 139:13-15
Over twenty years ago when I had first walked into our church I looked around at others and thought to myself, "This is not right. I will never be like these people." I struggled greatly. Every thought possible entered my mind such as, "I'm not good enough", "No one will like me for me", and "I don't belong here." Have you been there with me? Everyone was so nice and inviting. This was something I was not use to in my life. I can tell that when I accepted Jesus as my Savior those feelings parted from me shortly after. Oh sure, I still struggled from time to time, but I realized that I'm not suppose to be like everyone else. I am me. I am the me God created me to be. He created me unique. He knew my sins long before I ever committed them. He knew them all on the cross where He bore it all for me and for you.
You know what's amazing? He loves me despite my sin. He loves me beyond all measure. He created in me things I am still discovering today and will uncover more each day as I continue to grow in Him. Even with my sinful past He was willing to accept me just as I was.
Friends, don't ever think your not good enough. That is a lie straight from Satan. God created you! We could stop there and that would be enough said. There is so much more to uncover about ourselves. Even in those early days of my life when I didn't know Jesus, He still knew me. I can look back and see how He moved in my life to bring me to where I am today. Our Lord wastes nothing. He took my biggest messes and created beauty. From the smallest things in my life He has created masterpieces of glory.
We have a heritage in Jesus Christ. We can have life eternal with Him. That is what He wants. Look at what He did through the life of Rahab. Don't give up on yourself. Don't be so quick to give up on others. Where there is life there is hope.
We will never see all God has prepared for us until we seek Him first. He wants you to be His vessel today. He wants to walk with you. To talk with you. Every pathway holds blessings. Every meeting holds divine purpose. There is not a moment of our lives that is not planned out by our loving God.
"With God in your world, you aren't an accident or an incident; you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God." Max Lucado