I have a confession: I’m horrible at basketball. Like…really, really bad. But I always get put on A-team for club basketball. Try and figure that one out. I think they just put me on there because I’m tall. They make me prostitute my height. All my friends know I’m challenged when it comes to this sport. They come to the games just to laugh at me and cheer extra loud in the apocalyptic moment that I actually make a lay-up. But I do what I can. I’m quick, so I hustle like nothing else. (Granted, I don’t understand the game, so I’m just kind of running around everywhere while waving my gangly arms, but I like to think of that as defense.) And you know, quite honestly…I’m okay with all of that. Even though it’s all I can do, it helps in some small way.
Now, that confession is not a spiritual parallel. I think trying to find sin, salvation, and Jesus equivalencies in any life experience belittles the Bible because it’s corny, infantile, and nonintellectual. Consider my basketball skills more of a segue. Segues are so much better.
John 3:22-30 has this funny section where people run up to John the Baptist going, “Hey, this Jesus guy is treading on your ground by baptizing people. What’re you going to do about it?” Contentedly he responds, “I’m just doing what I can.” John’s job was not to change the world, but rather, to prepare the world for the one who would change it. This was fine with him. He recognized that he had to “become less” if Christ was to “become greater.” Personally, this is troubling. I want to be all things to all people, but I know that simply isn’t possible. I can’t stretch myself that thin (I’m wiry enough as it is). I don’t really know how to just step out of the way and let God take over. I’ll be honest: it bugs me that I don’t have what it takes to be a doctor. I see needs around me, and I think, “Geez, it’d be amazing if I could do something there,” and granted, there is some good I could still do. But eventually I would hit this wall that only a doctor would be able to scale. I have to be okay with that.
John was content to let Christ take care of the things he couldn’t, but for me there’s something so nebulous about letting God take the reins. Probably because I can’t actually see Him doing anything in the moment, but in retrospect I can always see how He’s been moving. I suppose what this comes down to is an issue of trust sprinkled with humility.
We can only do as much as we humanly can and must be satisfied with knowing that God will be able to use that, work with it, and take care of the rest. God will never ask you to do more than you can on your part (note: that does not mean God won’t give you more than you can handle—one of the biggest nuggets of mistruth being thrown around in Christian circles). So why does it always seem like we’re faced with issues or tasks that are bigger than us? Could it be that God purposefully throws those on us to emphasize just how much we need to trust Him?