March 23, 2018
Let me tell you the story of a young newlywed couple. Months after their wedding, they discover–to their delight–that the wife is expecting a baby. They soon find out that the baby is a girl, and this brings them even more joy as they imagine the many dreams they have for their daughter. When the time came, the wife delivered a healthy baby girl.
After a year, however, they realized that something was wrong. Their daughter couldn’t walk. After consulting doctors, they soon learned that their baby girl had dwarfism, a genetic condition that would result in her being shorter than most people, and, ultimately, a life of not being able to do what most people could do, and depending on other people’s help.
Can you relate to this young couple, to have so many dreams and plans ahead of you, but in a snap, because of one unfortunate incident, mistake, or regret, you no longer feel qualified for them?
If you have, I have good news for you: God is in the business of renewal, and He is renewing you.
He does this, first, by telling you that you–yes you!–are His workmanship.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Merriam Webster defines “workmanship” as “something effected, made, or produced; the art or skill of a workman.” To be called God’s workmanship, then, means that we are a work of God. Yes, we come from our parents, but ultimately, we are made by God, and created to do the good works He prepared for us to do.
We are handcrafted by God. We are God’s work of art. We are His masterpieces, made to fulfill a purpose. Think about that for a moment.
Let’s get back to the story.
Despite what the couple heard from the doctors, they knew God had a plan for their little girl (quite literally), because she was His workmanship. So they did not lose hope, and carried on in raising their baby as normally as they could, and support her as best as they could, to fulfill God’s calling for them as parents.
Just like the little girl in the story, I want to tell you that no condition, mistake, or incident in the past, present, or future, can disqualify you from being God’s workmanship. He qualifies you not because you are good or deserving, but because He created you, and created you for a purpose.
He qualifies you through His finished work on the cross, and the grace He gives you to live a life of purpose.
It is God’s grace that qualifies us to walk into His promises and accomplish His plans for us. Romans 8:32 says,
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Through God’s grace, we are saved from sin’s punishment and God’s wrath. Through His grace, we received the salvation that we did not deserve through Jesus Christ. If we, sinful as we are, are able to have eternal life and salvation, what else is hard for God to give?
Going back to the story, the couple tried their best to raise their daughter in the best way they could. But, of course, there were obstacles and hurts that took place along the way. One painful experience, the mom recalls, happened after their daughter finished kindergarten. They were in search for the perfect school for her, when one teacher remarked, “You’re really serious about sending her to big school even with that condition?”
Perhaps this is you, too. Maybe people have doubted you in the past (spoiler alert: it won’t end; you will encounter a lot of those in life!). People who don’t think you can do it. Or maybe you’re the one who doubts your own ability to carry out your purpose. But allow me to tell you how the parents in the story responded.
While this comment broke their heart at first, they still believed that their daughter was God’s workmanship. They continued to tap on God’s grace, and have faith that their daughter, by grace, will accomplish all God planned for her.
Don’t ever forget who made you and who He made you to be. If you ever feel stuck or discouraged, keep tapping onto His grace that never runs out.
As I was studying Ephesians 2, I researched on the Message version of this, and Chapter 2 was entitled “He Tore Down The Wall.”
God’s grace tore down the wall of sin. If His grace can tear down sin, His grace can also tear down our physical walls. Our weaknesses. Our handicaps. Even our bad habits. Walls that seem too hard to conquer, and cause us not to fulfill God’s call in our lives–God’s grace can tear all these down. But we have a part to play in this–our faith.
We can fulfill God’s calling for us because we live in Christ, by His grace, through faith.
For by grace you have been saved through faith.
Faith embraces and lives out the grace we have received from God. We get to experience a life of grace through faith, as we live a life of faith in Christ.
Faith is only made possible through Christ’s death and resurrection. Faith isn’t about what we can do more or less of, but about what God did through Jesus that granted us His grace to accomplish all He has prepared for us.
The parents in the story persisted in raising their child. They supported her regular schooling, without knowing what lies ahead. They just believed in God’s grace. They just believed in God’s power; without knowing that years later, their little girl would grow up (or should I say got older because she never grew?) and finish with a university degree in interior design.
They persisted in their faith and tapping into God’s grace, not knowing that years later, that little girl–who is still little–would be writing these very words to illustrate God’s grace in the life of her parents.
Yes, she who suffers from dwarfism, but also she, the wonderful benefactor of God’s amazing grace, is actually me.
Quite recently, while attending a class for my masters abroad, one of my professors asked me if I ever felt different because of my dwarfism. Perhaps they were waiting for a dramatic answer, but I am afraid that my reply was simply this, “No, because even early on, my parents taught me about what it means to be God’s workmanship and to have faith in Him who created me.”
Can I tell you today that our greatest calling is to glorify God in all of who we are and every single thing we are doing?
If you are facing something today that may be stopping you from living a life of faith, insecurities and all, I encourage you to tap into God’s grace and power. What you can’t do, God can. What you lack, God will supply far more abundantly than we can ever ask or imagine.
And this isn’t only you. So many of our friends out there are perhaps also doubting themselves and maybe have even lost all hope completely. Will you do them a favor and be an encourager? Encourage them to tap on God’s grace and power. Continue to pray for them because they, too, have a calling, despite all that has gone wrong in their lives. Tell them that through our lack, deficiencies, ineptitude, and sorrows, there is a call that we can all fulfill only by faith and by grace!