As Christians, we wanted to be used by God. There is nothing with that. In fact, that is a healthy desire. After all, we want to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33.
The problem is not having this desire, it is then we set our own plans and then ask God to bless them. This can even be in ministry or even considered as noble like helping others.
And sometimes this can be in an unhealthy manner. For example, when I first became a Christian, I also got into triathlon. I remembered sharing at a Prayer Meeting that my desire is to win medals and to be God’s witness.
God did not make me fast and in most races, I ended up in the mid-pack (and sometimes last). So what does this mean? Does this mean I fail? Or does this mean God failed me?
No. I learned that even the planning I have to submit to God. I continued in triathlon and did an Ironman race in 2007. Being a cancer survivor and someone with a liver transplant, I was invited to speak in running clubs and talk on the radio stations to help raise funds for Hospital for Sick Children.
Did I plan this? No.
But that’s how God used me. It was He who brought these speaking invitations to me.
Oftentimes, when my wife and I counselled young Christians, we see their zeal for the Lord. A common thread I see is that they believe they need to do great things in order to be used by God. If not, their lives are a failure.
To be honest, sometimes I feel like that too. If I have more speaking invitations or if I have a large number of followers on my social media profiles, then I will really be used by God.
I believe this is a lie. God can use us whether we are ‘successful’ (as seen by the world) or not. The key is to be willing to be used by God in all circumstances.
In 2 Kings 5, there is a story about a great army commander named Naaman. He had leprosy and served under the king of Aram. Aram was in war against Israel.
The story began with the Aram raiders capturing a young girl from Israel. She became a slave to Naaman’s wife. Upon hearing Naaman with leprosy, she told Naaman’s wife:
“If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”2 Kings 5:3b (NIV)
Then it started off the journey of Naaman going to Israel, his enemy, to be healed by Elisha the prophet. This story has many lessons to glean from.
If you haven’t read this story before, Naaman ended up being healed by Elisha and worshipped Israel’s God.
The irony of this story is that when the King of Israel heard of Naaman coming, he was in disbelief. He assumed that the King of Aram is trying to pick a fight with him. Even he, the king, which should be the representative of God, did not believe Elisha could heal Naaman.
So who has the faith that God can heal? It was this nameless little servant girl. She was not mentioned again.
It is easy to do things for God when we have approval from others or in a big ministry where we have the spotlight. It is another to be used by God like the nameless servant girl.
She didn’t perform any miracles. She didn’t bring down fire from the sky. In fact, the Bible didn’t even mention her name.
Does it mean she is not valuable in God’s eyes? Of course, not. After all, our God knows and cares for every sparrow out in the field (Matthew 6:26).
And I will admit, some days, being a stay-at-home dad is harder than others. I believe we live in a society where children are considered more of a liability than a precious blessing. Why do I say that? Well, most young people don’t want children.
Yet, when I am down I am reminding myself it was God who brought the girl to Naaman. Probably not what she expected as a slave. She could have not to say anything as spite against her captivity. She probably never expected Naaman to worship Israel’s God.
After all, there are plenty of gods in Aram to choose from. But nevertheless, she was used by God.
In life, we may end up in a job or a season where it was not what we expected. At times, it may feel dry and feel like nothing is going on.
It is during these seasons may we remind that God is still in control of our lives.
May we continue to be like this servant girl. Though nameless, still be faithful and be used by God.