Simply Unlikely

by Mary

Here’s the truth …

“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT).

Photo by  Chris Barbalis  on  Unsplash

I remember walking around a city in Jordan, praying.  I was on a short-term mission trip and felt the need to pray for the people of that city with such a burden.  I can recall staring at a tall apartment complex.  Every single window but one had the blinds covering the windows.  So I remember praying for the people behind that lonely open window.  I had decided that if they were open to having the light of the day stream into their room, they might also one day be open to hearing about Jesus.  I prayed for Jesus to come to them in their dreams and to give them a thirst for His light.  I know that such a simple act of prayer will yield the reward one day of having the people on the other side of that window come up to me in heaven, thanking me for seeing them as important enough to pray about that day in their city.  God can use the prayer of a simple person.

I remember sitting in on a meeting at the White House Executive Offices.  I listened to a woman who had been appointed by President Trump to tackle the drug crisis in our country.  When the time came for questions and comments, I simply raised my hand and told this woman about my church’s endeavor to reach those addicted to drugs by building a clinic that would address each person’s addiction as well as his physical, financial, spiritual, and emotional health.  She sought me out personally after the meeting and gave me her card.  We have since been communicating via email about how she can learn from what my church is doing.  God can use the helpfulness of a simple person.

I remember being assigned to work in my church library on the same day as someone who really needed a listening ear.  I am not usually assigned to work there on that day of the week, but as soon as I was there, I understood why God brought me.  The person had just gone through a divorce as well as a job loss and really needed some encouragement.  I had just recovered from the betrayal my family had faced from people whom we had trusted with our lives.  In a manner of speaking, I felt like I had gone through a divorce from these people myself.  And the ministry work I had done with them was over, thus the job loss I felt like I had experienced as well.  I was on the other side of it, so I was able to help this woman with the very Bible verses that God had given me to get through it all.  She would have been in the library all alone that day.  God knew that I could be used, instead, to make her realize that with Him, no matter how many losses she faces, she is never alone.  God can use the experiences of a simple person.

You just never know how God can use you.  You are somebody to God, even when you think that your background, experiences, education, or looks are mediocre at best.

God causes people’s paths to cross.  We must always be ready because we just never know if today will be the day when God brings someone our way because He us trusting us not to be shy but to speak the truth boldly.  I’d hate to hear later that God had to use someone else to fulfill a mission that He gave to me but I blew it!

Ever have an idea for an invention but someone beat you to it by creating the product before you even could put pen to paper?  For me, it’s book ideas.  I get ideas for books to write only to see a seasoned author crank out another bestseller with the same theme I had brewing in my head.  You could throw your hands in the air and say forget it!  Why bother to try when there are people out there more influential than I am who can and will do it anyway?  But God has a different approach.  He uses the little guy way more than we give Him credit. 

I love the humble beginnings of David who would one day serve the Lord as King.  Samuel had to walk past seven more impressive brothers before realizing that the one the Lord had picked was the youngest one who was “out in the fields watching the sheep and goats” (1 Samuel 16:11 NLT).  The Lord told Samuel of the first brother, Eliab, who impressed him: “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT).

I love the loyalty of Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Ruth could have gone back to her own family when her husband died, but she stayed by the side of his mother.  Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16 NIV).  God rewarded the loyalty of this simple widow later by granting her a child in the lineage of Jesus Himself.

Those are examples of people whom God used because they humbly served.  But what about those who didn’t?  Maybe you think God can’t use you because of your sordid past.  Think again.  Paul, the murdering, persecuting Jew, was transformed by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:2).  He encountered Jesus personally and was never the same again.  God was able to use him to communicate His message through much of the New Testament books that were penned by him.  And what about Jonah?  God asked for him to deliver a message to a specific group of people.  Jonah had decided that they were not worthy to hear the message, so he ran the other way.  God intervened and he found himself in the belly of a whale until he would relent and complete the mission God had for him.  God can use the naysayers. 

I was creating a display at my church bookstore of titles all involving outcasts, misfits, unlikely neighbors, and people with whom you would not normally break bread due to extreme differences in beliefs, customs, and interests. The reason was because my pastors were about to start a new series on the unlikely folks around whom Jesus surrounded Himself.  It got me thinking….  Whom do I dismiss for this reason or that?  Who should be shown the love of Jesus from me but I haven’t bothered because of my preconceived notions?  Let’s not be Jonah.  Let’s allow ourselves to be used by God whenever He chooses.  Make yourself ready.  Simple me and simple you are of extraordinary value to His big picture.

… and that’s the truth as I know it!

Mary