God Wants to Make You the Hero in His Story

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.   And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:17-18)

It’s amazing to contemplate, isn’t it?  James writes in the verses above that as a result of the prayers of Elijah it did not rain upon the earth for 3-½ years.  It’s so outside anything we have experienced we are tempted to think there must be something really special about Elijah. But James, in anticipating where his reader’s minds (we) would be tempted to go, states Elijah had a “nature like ours.”  In other words, he was a human being just like us, and yet God did remarkable things in answer to his prayers.

Put in context, these two verses follow James’ admonition in verse 16, that they would pray for the sick among them, in order that they may be healed.  It is some of the clearest, and strongest, teaching we have from Scripture on why we should be both quick and steadfast in our praying earnestly for physical healing.  Today, however, I would like to make another application of the truth being communicated here.  That is, God uses and answers the prayers of ordinary people just like you and me to accomplish extraordinary things.

Consider the tentative beginnings of the early church.  God used twelve ordinary men to establish His church which has now endured for over 2000 years.  During His 3-½ year earthly ministry, Jesus chose, called, trained, equipped, and then anointed with His Holy Spirit, fishermen, tradesmen, and even a tax collector.  Ordinary people, like you and me, were sent out to bring the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom to a broken and confused world.  Their message went forward in both clarity and simplicity while being validated with “signs, wonders, and mighty deeds.”  The result was many were converted and the church was established almost overnight.

Again, the temptation is to deify Peter, James, and John, along with the rest of the disciples, and thereby lose touch with the reality they were mere “men” with a nature like ours. In Acts 4:13, the religious leaders of their day marveled at Peter and John’s healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.  But Peter had already clarified to the crowds it was not by his "own power or piety" the lame man had been healed but by “faith in the name of Jesus.”  Added to Peter’s confession, are the observations of the religious leaders who marveled and Peter and John recognizing them to be “uneducated and untrained men,” whose only identifying characteristic was “having been with Jesus.”

In my study Bible, one of the section headings in Hebrews chapter 11 refers to the heroes of faith.  They are people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, King David, Daniel, Samuel, and Samson to name a few.  Verse 33 states, by faith they conquered kingdoms, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions and put foreign armies to flight.  These “heroes” were not inherently superior in their humanity but they did understand their true identity and calling which enabled them to walk in faith.  Belief in what God wanted to accomplish through them released the power of God in extraordinary ways.  I believe God wants to do the same through you and me today, make us heroes in His story.

In future articles, I am going to explore this idea further but my current goal is to enable us to see that the men and women of Scripture, people we often consider to be heroes of the faith, were ordinary people just like us.  They weren’t always filled with faith but were at times selfish and judgmental.  They still made mistakes and poor choices, often lots of them but God used them anyway.  God took ordinary people, fishermen, tradesmen, young girls, old men, criminals, prostitutes, religious zealots, and even a tax collector, and turn them into heroes in His plan of redemption. 

What about you? What does God want to accomplish through your life?  There are some things to learn along the way of course but it all begins with the belief that God wants to make you the hero in His story.  Spend some time with the Father and ask Him what He would like to accomplish through your life?  I believe you will be both surprised and challenged by what you hear.





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