When I think of the people in my life that have been a huge influence in my spiritual life I think of my parents and my paternal grandmother. There have also been other people such as my former minister, Margaret and friends and mentors. There have also been strangers that God used in a mighty way!
One such stranger came to my church while I was living in Greensboro. My daughter, Ivey, was a newborn but I was determined to go to revival. I took her and sat in the back having no idea that my life would be changed forever. The speaker had been all over the newspaper - telling how dangerous it was for him to be speaking. He should be in hiding according to many. He was a former Hell's Angel who had been saved by the grace of God and prayed for and not given up on by his mother! I learned about the power of prayer and the power of a praying parent that day! I was there every night to hear his story. It was one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. The papers were right. He was on the Hell's Angel hit list but with God's hedge of protection, he traveled and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ for years. Since then he died, of natural causes, and went to his heavenly home!
I am reminded of 2 Timothy 2: 21, "Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." God can use anybody. He needs all of us. My story may not touch someone but yours will. We are all different, have different stories and react differently. I am sure there were times when this man thought God could never use him. He had done really bad things. God is not waiting for the perfect people because there are not any. He is not waiting for the kind, gentle or loving people - He is waiting for the changed people. The apostle Paul reminds us that even though we are not perfect God will use us.
Think of some of the people God used in the Bible. I would not have chosen them but I am sure glad He did. I have related to them. Thankfully, the Bible does not hide the failures, fears, and dysfunction of the characters. I just did a study on the "Bad Girls of The Bible" and boy were there some bad girls! Same with the men - adulterers, cheaters and murderers. Yep, Jesus was known for using unlikely people to share hope in a troubled world. Elijah was suicidal. Joseph was abused. Moses had a speech problem. Jonah ran from God. Jacob was a liar. Job was bankrupt. David was an adulterer. Gideon was afraid. Peter denied Christ. Samson was a womanizer. Rehab was a prostitute. And the list goes on but my favorite - Lazarus was dead! God's work is not reserved for the worthy! We all have faults and issues. Romans 3: 23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
"I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes!"