“Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” ~ Jeremiah 1:6
Wherever the details of a ‘calling’ are recorded in the Bible, the person who God calls always expresses self-doubt. For example, Moses doubted his importance and his eloquence (Exodus 3:11; 4:10-13); Isaiah was concerned of his own sinfulness and his complicity with the sinful culture of his day (Isaiah 6:5); and Gideon saw himself as weak and insignificant (Judges 6:15). And here we see Jeremiah concerned that he was too young.
The lesson for us is that God calls people who are aware of their weaknesses and inadequacies. That is because we look to God when we are aware of our insufficiency; we look to God when we know that we cannot do anything without Him. As The Bible puts it:
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. ~ James 4:6
God calls on those who are humble enough to recognize their complete insufficiency and hopelessness without His sustaining power. Therefore, we might ask ourselves, “Am I ‘inadequate’ enough for God to call me?” This is completely opposite to our usual approach where many of us look at ourselves and say, “God cannot use me, I am just not good enough.” God wants to use you, BECAUSE you know you are not good enough!
In the children’s classic, “The Little Engine that Could“, the Little Engine is famous for saying, “I think I can, I think I can…”. However, God calls those who (unlike the ‘Little Engine that Could’) say, “I think I can’t, I think I can’t…”. God then teaches them to say, “I know I can’t, but I know God can; I know I can’t, but I know God can…”
Paul, while reflecting on a physical weakness that he could get no relief from, puts it this way
And he [Jesus] said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
God’s grace is made sufficient for us when we realize our insufficiency! We have to first see our own weakness to know, to experience, God’s strength! To be clear, we don’t glory in sin/sinfulness. Rather (like Isaiah), we welcome God’s redemptive and sanctifying work in our lives. And we realize that we can never do anything good without the sustaining grace of our God and Father.
If you are really convinced that you are not good enough, that you can’t manage without His constant help, then watch out… you are probably going to hear from God, very soon… just like Jeremiah, He might have a BIG job for you to do. God calls those who can’t, because He CAN!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ~ Philippians 4:13