There’s a quote I read once from Selwyn Hughes, a 20th century Bible teacher.
My goal is God himself… at any cost, dear Lord, by any road.
Many of us who read this would say this is also the desire of their heart, but it leaves me thinking God is about to do great things. Will it cost me my life? What enormous sacrifice will he ask of me? But my life, my days are just going on as they always do; same routine, same circumstance…when is this wonderful sacrificial thing going to happen?
As I was walking along the bike track recently, a group of cyclists rode toward me; young men chatting happily amongst themselves. I watched them approach. They obviously had no intention of riding single file, so I stepped off the track. A few smiled a good morning to me while I gave them my best I’m not impressed look. As I stepped back onto the track I had a strange feeling of a lost opportunity. How was that? But I already knew. I’ll do anything for you Lord…is that really what I’m saying when I can’t even offer a smile or a friendly greeting? God reminded me never to underestimate how he can use that ordinary smile or encouraging word!
You see, I want that brilliant, exhilarating moment of sharing the gospel with a group of eager listeners, that moment when someone says, please share your story with me. But to trudge through sickness, hard work, or annoying people, is that all God has for me? I watch people my age with amazing energy; Godly people doing genuinely amazing things to God’s glory but, can he use me, the plodder?
I’ve always said, God works when I’m not looking and it’s mostly in the ordinary, everyday routines of life.
I think about Moses tending Jethro’s sheep; same thing, day in, day out, when suddenly he sees a burning bush!
Or, think of Gideon, threshing wheat in his father’s underground hide out so the Philistines don’t come and destroy it. He was terrified when the brilliant light of the angel’s presence filled the small space! He’d probably been wondering what his wife had for tea or how many more days before all the wheat was threshed and this arduous job would be over. He definitely wouldn’t have been thinking, Oh God, make me a mighty warrior; a captain of a famous army.
Or let’s think of Zechariah going about his priestly duties, or Mary, a humble maiden; the shepherds guarding their sheep…we could go on.
But let’s think also of that faithful saint who’s died knowing nothing out of the ordinary for 80 or 90 years. Yet, here are all these people celebrating this faithful soul’s life and testifying to the blessings they’ve received.
I think also of those faithful missionaries who’ve worked tirelessly and seen no results from their years of sharing God’s Story; the faithful grandparent who’s prayed day in, day out and seen no answer to their prayers; the wounded missionary who returns broken and disillusioned. There’s nothing more ordinary than our feelings of failure but, in and through all this, God is working his purpose to bring about his extra-ordinary.
Yes, it’s out of the ordinary, everyday that God speaks and fulfils his purpose!
Oh Lord find me faithful!