Limited by Design

“. . . for not by might does one prevail.” -1 Samuel 2:9

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10

We are limited by design. I am reminded of those limitations most when I want my circumstances to be different or when someone I love seems just out of my reach. I used to be angry that I was given the longing for transformation but lacked the power to change it. I would stretch out my arm, bitter that my fingertips couldn’t stretch just a little further. I’m learning that at the edge of my reach, in the space between my fingertips and the person I love, is the place that God’s grace takes over. If I weren’t limited, I wouldn’t see God’s glory. If I weren’t designed with limits, I wouldn’t need God.

We do not have power over the womb. No amount of longing, prayer, piety or striving can make a womb spring to life. In her triumphant, prayerful poem, Hannah recognizes that, while through her prayers she seeks a right relationship to God, it was God who granted her heart’s desire. God’s transformation came by grace, not in exchange for her works. Only when Hannah reached the edge of herself did she know beyond a doubt it is God who “brings to life” (v. 6).

Now when I look at my outstretched arm, I see the strength and ability to complete the work that was designed for me. My fingertips remind me that if I can’t change a circumstance, it’s probably not mine to change. I am learning that the space between my fingertips and the one I love is the place where God’s grace is active!

Father God, help us discern our limitations and help our hearts to rejoice and offer praise for them. Thank you for your faithfulness that assures us that you will pick up where we leave off.

Autumn Lindberg, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapy Program Director in Visalia, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary