This morning when I arrived at church, there was a woman waiting in the parking lot to talk to me. For the purpose of this devotional, I’ll call her “Jayla”. She’s someone I know well because she lives in the high-poverty neighborhood where our church is located, and she’s attended our church off and on for for the past few years. Jayla is someone who was sexually abused as a child, has struggled with addiction as an adult, and has been in prison several times. However, she’s also someone who has recently given her life to Christ, and who is being transformed in the most amazing ways.
Part of that transformation has been her passion for being at church. Over the past few weeks, she’s been at the church pretty much every time the doors are open. But Jayla wasn’t at church this morning for an event, she was there to tell me about a situation that had happened to her at the technical school she’s attending. It seems there’s a teacher at the school who was sharing with Jayla about a difficult personal situation she's going through, and Jayla asked if she could pray with the teacher about it. The teacher said yes, and so Jayla prayed the Lord’s Prayer, because that was all she could think of.
The next day when Jayla got to school, the teacher told her that she had had the best night’s sleep she’d experienced in weeks - and that, even though the difficult situation wasn’t resolved, the teacher felt a lot more peace about it because Jayla had prayed. Jayla responded by saying, “Ya girl, God’s got you!”.
I wanted to share this story because it's such a great reminder that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Jayla hasn’t been to seminary or Bible school. She’s not a trained missionary or evangelist. She’s simply a woman who loves the Lord, and who was willing to be used by God when the situation presented itself. And that's really all that God needs from any of us - our willingness.
It's a truth we see throughout the Bible. For example, when a giant Philistine was taunting the armies of Israel and everyone was paralyzed with fear, God didn't choose some incredible military strategist to defeat the enemy. He chose a shepherd boy who had been sent by his father to take food to his brothers on the front lines. And another time, when the Israelites were overwhelmed by fear because of their enemies, God found an average man named Gideon - who was convinced God had called the wrong guy. But God selected him anyway, and in doing so, God gave us another example of an average person who trusted God to work.
That's exactly what Jayla did. She trusted God to work. And that's exactly what we need to do as well. If we have faith in God, if we believe that God can use us, if we're willing to take a step of faith when the opportunity presents itself, then God will do incredible things through us. 1 Samuel 16:7 puts it like this, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person's thoughts and intentions.” God isn't looking for ability, He's looking for availability.
So today, join me in asking God to make a difference using us - right where we are. Let's tell God that we're available, and then trust that He is able to use us for His purposes – and see what God will do!