His Power in Our Weakness - God uses normal people (like me and you!)
On a Thursday evening in late July of 1988 I heard evangelist Ron Hutchcraft speak for the first time at the Youth for Christ D.C. ‘88 conference. He challenged the young men and women in the audience to go M.A.D. for Christ - Make A Difference. The message went straight to my heart like a bolt of lightning, and when an invitation was given to accept Christ, I immediately rose to my feet and with tears running down my face made a decision to follow Jesus.
I took my faith seriously, so much so that I came to believe that if I really wanted to be a true follower of Christ, I needed to go all-in and become a missionary who would lead scores of people to Jesus. I went on every summer missions trip our youth group had, and even spent a summer overseas with Teen Missions International, before eventually landing at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where I planned to get a degree in missions.
I was also hoping that being in the presence of so many other “on fire for Jesus” young men and women at Bible college would somehow rub off and supernaturally enable me to overcome my secret struggles with sin. I did find a lot of genuine, committed Christians at Bible school (especially some of the professors whom I admire to this very day), but also a whole bunch of, well, normal people, who were just as messed up and confused about life as I was, uncertain about what God really wanted from them, or if he could even use them at all. I’d hear stories from professors or students about “bringing someone to the Lord” and my heart would sink in shame; I’d shared the gospel with a number of people, but none of them had ever accepted the Lord. I was just too ordinary, too normal… As the years went on I began to lose hope that I could do anything of worth for the Lord, let alone overcome my own sin issues. I began to believe the lies and bought into the “I can’t” narrative, and by the summer of 1995 I’d given up on following Jesus.
Isn’t it wonderful that we can give up on following Jesus, but Jesus never stops pursuing us?!?
There’s another great truth as well - God can (and does!) use anyone to do great things for his Kingdom! God’s ability is not limited by our weaknesses; in fact, our weaknesses are often the very things God uses to do the impossible! The Old Testament prophet Amos is a great example of this; in the Bible we read of God’s calling on this simple man - a lowly shepherd and fig farmer. God called this simple man to bring his Word to the people of Israel, and Amos responded in obedience, trusting the Lord would give him the strength and wisdom needed to accomplish his given tasks.
My devotional for this morning is titled “His Power in Our Weakness” and comes from Leroy Eims of the Navigators. He shares the story of the Navigators founder Dawson Trotman, a truck driver in a lumberyard who was moved by God through some Scripture verses he was memorizing. Of “Daws” (as he is affectionately known in the Navigators) Eims says this: From that point on, Daws obeyed the Lord and moved ahead. He never sat around bemoaning the fact that he’d never attended college or seminary. He studied hard, learned from others, and put into practice what he learned.
Most of us will never be missionaries in a foreign country, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a valuable role to play in God’s plans. Leroy Eims asks a great question: What kind of background does it take to serve God effectively? The answer? Whatever kind you have. Christian, if God is calling you to serve Him, then say yes, and get started right where you are today. Are you a mom? Be the very best mom you can be? Working on the line at the factory? Be a diligent, honest, hard worker, and take advantage of opportunities to be salt and light to your co-workers. Working as a cashier at Wal-Mart or McDonalds? Do it to the glory of God. A “normal” person walking in obedience is a powerful tool in the hands of our great God!