God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” – Exodus 3:4, NIV
On January 20, 2017, history was made. A business man with no prior political history was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. President Trump’s rise to the presidency is inspirational. Now, may we pray that He allows God to direct his steps so that his actions as President may also be long remembered as a marvelous story to be told.
American history tells us of another man who many deemed ordinary, but became extraordinary. Abraham Lincoln is considered by many as the most successful President in our history. Who knows where this great country would be today had it not been for his leadership during the Civil War? And yet, some have titled him the most successful failure of all time.
Physically, he suffered from long periods of depression. It is believed he could barely see out of one eye, possibly due to being kicked in the head by a horse at age 10. He had nervous attacks, severe headaches and indigestion. He even had a couch placed near his desk in the White House so he could quickly lie down when one of his spells came over him.
Mr. Lincoln failed in business in 1831. He was defeated for the legislature in 1832. He suffered another business defeat in 1836 and had a nervous breakdown. He failed to be elected speaker in 1838 and defeated as elector in 1840. He was defeated for Congress in 1843, 1848, and for Senate in 1855. In 1843 Lincoln was defeated for Vice-Presidency and for the Senate again in 1858 before finally being elected as President in 1860.
President Lincoln had his share of troubles at home, also. He had 3 children to die and his wife was believed by many to be mentally and emotionally unstable. Through it all, Abraham Lincoln was just an ordinary man who believed he was destined to accomplish something with his life. So when problems and disappointments arose, he never gave up.
In the book of Exodus we read about Moses. He was hidden for the first 3 months of his life in Egypt because Pharaoh had decreed to kill all Hebrew male children less than 2 years of age. He was then sent down the Nile river in a basket under the watchful eye of a brokenhearted mother, praying for God’s protection over her infant son.
Was God watching? Always. Found by Pharaoh’s own daughter, Moses was raised in the house of the very man who had tried to kill him. At age 40, he attacked an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. In a matter of minutes, Moses went from royalty to outlaw.
Fast forward 40 years and you find Moses living on the backside of the dessert as a shepherd, married, and with two children. With all he had been through, I’m sure Moses just wanted to survive, but God had a plan for him to thrive.
God has always taken the ordinary and done the extraordinary. That’s good news for all of us. As a pastor, I love to study the lives of great Christian leaders. I often think of a sermon I once heard Dr. Jerry Falwell preach. He stated that as he was finishing seminary, he felt his talents didn’t match some of his peers. In prayer he told the Lord that he may not preach as well as some, or be as gifted as others, if He would bless him, he would outwork every one of them.
Dr. Falwell kept his word and God kept His. God used Dr. Falwell to grow one of the great churches in America, start the largest Christian university and influence millions for Christ.
Friend, God wants to use ordinary you in extraordinary ways. He may lead you into a path that is opposite of anything you have done before. You don’t have to fear; God empowers those whom He calls. Like Abraham Lincoln, you may have a past with one failed attempt after another. Or, like Moses, feel that God cannot use you because of your sins and moral failures. But remember it was Moses’ past that qualified him for his future. You may feel like you lack the necessary abilities to do anything great for God, but if you are willing to give God your best, God can do more with you than you could possibly imagine.
God doesn’t make mistakes. Those He calls, He qualifies. God wants to use ordinary you!