Just recently, I finished reading Susan May Warren’s fiction series about P.J. Sugar, starting with Nothing But Trouble. It’s a three-book series featuring a character with a not-so-stellar past who’s trying to change her ways and honor God with her new life choices.
The first book begins with rejection from her aspiring-pastor boyfriend and a call from family to come back home, where her reputation precedes her like a broken neon sign. So here she is trying to fit into the mold of what she thinks God wants of her (pastor’s wife), but God seems to have other plans. Can she really be a good Christian with her kind of past, or will she always be Nothing But Trouble?
God, being the God of miracles, can make even P.J. Sugar into a good Christian woman. Better yet, He designed her just as she is, because He has plans for her. In fact, its P.J. Sugar’s knack for finding trouble that makes her good at what she does, in the end.
This is one of those things you just gotta like about God: The paradox. It’s not just P.J. Sugar God uses in this way. It’s you and me. Often, our greatest gifts are also our greatest challenges … and vice versa. We just have to know how to turn them around and use them for the purpose in which He gave them.
I’ve known individuals who struggled with severe depression in their own lives who were the ones who could spot a single person’s pain in a crowded room. I’ve witnessed those individuals tend and minister to the suffering again and again. That sensitivity, when turned only on self, leads to pain. When used for God, it’s a gift.
We’ve heard many accounts of individuals with ADD or dyslexia who were great inventors, writers, artists and leaders. All because they had the knack of looking at the world from a new angle. God gave them this ability to accomplish His plan.
They are gifts … but they come at great expense. This is often what we call a deficit or a disability, and too often what we focus on when we relate to those who have them. But God sees us for who He made us to be and for what purpose He has in store.
So how do we go from troubled or disabled to gifted? As always, first draw nearer to the One who made you. That way we can better hear His still, small voice when He speaks to us. Listen well and prepare to do His Will, not yours. He may take His time, as He molds and hones that gift, as He’s been doing with me. But when you see His glory working through your empty vessel, you will only be able to utter a gasping “Wow!”