When I became a believer I found the stories I had heard during Sunday School. I wanted to see them with new eyes, a new heart. So many times we dismiss the stories of Noah and the Ark, Daniel in the lion’s den, Moses in the basket or David and Goliath. They come across as cute stories, cartoonish ways to tell kids to be good or to be strong. Yet, why would they be in the Bible if there were not more to the stories?
As I read and studied the Old Testament passages, I found ordinary men who were living in extraordinary times. Noah watched as his neighbors and community continued to turn away from God and turned toward their wants, their desires, and ultimately their self destruction. He held no power in his hands, no crown of authority sat on his head, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God (Genesis 6:8-10).
He was just a regular man, but he walked with God and that is what made the difference. He listened to God’s direction, was obedient (Genesis 6:22), and through Noah, God saved mankind from total devastation. Noah’s hands were empty until God put purpose into them.
Daniel found favor with Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, during the Jewish captivity (Daniel 1:3-6). He was just a teenager, approximately seventeen, yet he rose within the ranks of Nebuchadnezzar’s council, eventually becoming second in the country (Daniel 2:48-49). Daniel was not anyone particularly skilled in governing, but he sought the face of God and His wisdom alone (Daniel 2:20-23).
During the reign of Darius, the Mede, the members in the king’s council saw Daniel being favored. The satraps jealousy grew and through a series for events, Daniel found himself thrown into a den of ravenous lions. The king himself said to Daniel as the den was sealed, May the God, whom you continually serve, rescue you! (Daniel 6:16b). It was Daniel’s trust in God, his consistent decision to seek God’s face and wisdom even when it was outlawed (Daniel 6:6-11).
Daniel’s hands were empty, but open to the Heavenly Father, seeking God’s protection. God answered. The next day when Darius arrived at the den, he found Daniel alive and unharmed.
Again and again, I found that the men and women I heard of in Sunday School were regular people who chose their faith above everything else. Moses ran from the Pharaoh’s palace, eventually he became a shepherd for his father-in-law. Only then, when his hands held nothing that gave him authority, God gave Moses the power to lead the entire Israelite nation out of bondage to their Promised Land.
It is easy to think that God cannot use me to impact His world for His glory. I am a fifty-year-old, married, mother of two. I live on a small acreage in the farm land of Nebraska. From the world’s perspective I am of little consequence. From God’s perspective, in humility and truth, I can be used to impact the eternity of however many people God places in my life.
It is my choice to turn to Him with my empty hands, allowing Him to fill them with the tools to be used to tell others about the life-changing, soul-saving, relationship we can have with Jesus Christ. This is what I choose every day.
Heavenly Father, I come to you with empty hands. My skills are not great, neither is my bank account nor the diplomas on my wall. You oh God, are great and I pray I will listen and be obedient to You when You call me. Use my voice, my hands, my life to reach out to those who are hurting, lost, and broken to see that You alone can heal them, restore them, and through You they will become a Child of God.
Amen and amen.