Do you remember how the Lord called the prophet Jeremiah to ministry? They're familiar words to many of us: "The word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations'" (Jeremiah 1:4-5).

As many Christians rightly focus on in this passage, this is one of several places in Scripture where we see God's view of life in the womb (see Psalm 139:13-16 for another). What God said to Jeremiah indicates that He has a plan for a person even when they're in the zygote stage, in that pre-embryonic state when the DNA has just come together and is starting to divide into more and more cells.

God was telling Jeremiah, "Before there was even a formation of your body in your mother's womb, I knew you intimately and formulated My plan for you." He chose him when he was yet unformed. That's how God began this prophet's calling.

Amazing, isn't it? But keep reading to get Jeremiah's reaction: in verse 6, he said, "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." This just wasn't a great reception to God's word, was it?

"But the Lord said to [him]: 'Do not say, "I am a youth"'"—in other words, "Don't dwell on that fact"—"'for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you.... Behold, I have put My words in your mouth'" (vv. 7-9).

Have you ever noticed in Scripture how God uses the very people who think they're not qualified to be used? Moses said, "I am not eloquent...I am slow of speech and slow of tongue" (Exodus 4:10). God sent him to be a spokesman. Isaiah, when God called him, said, "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). God said, "Don't worry. I'll clean your lips and give you the power," and Isaiah, in the end, said, "Here am I! Send me" (v. 8). Paul the apostle called himself "less than the least of all the saints" (Ephesians 3:8). And yet he recognized God called him to speak "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (v. 8).

The principle is that God doesn't look for the best or the latest model. He chooses to use the most unlikely and the weakest. He will often bypass the people who think, Man, I can't believe God isn't using me more to find the ones who say, "I don't know if God could—or should—ever use me." Bingo. "You're the one I've been looking for. You've been on My mind all along, even before you were born. I'll put My words in your mouth and be with you." That's what Jeremiah discovered in his calling.

All of that to say that God has a plan for you, and it began long before you were born. Ephesians 1 says He chose you "before the foundation of the world" (v. 4). And Jeremiah's calling shows that you don't have to have it all together for Him to use you. In fact, He seems to prefer that you don't. That's pretty good news for you and me, isn't it?

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