What I’m Reading: Alone

It’s easy to look back at the history books and find stories of men and women who did great things. Scripture is also full of ordinary people who did extraordinary things for and through God. These people could look at their lives and know they did this wonderful thing.

I’m guessing Mary didn’t look at her life wondering in what extraordinary way God used her. Every time she thought about the angel or looked at her son, she had a reminder of the incredible way she got to be part of God’s great plan.

But for the rest of us, seeing how God is using us in His plan can be difficult. We look at our ordinary lives and wonder if we make any difference at all. We do our best to listen to God’s leading and follow the path He sets out for us. He gives us ministry work, and we wholeheartedly participate in it. We want to make a difference for Him, for eternity, but we question if what we’re doing is changing anything for the better.

Bethany, the heroine in Alone by Edie Melson, feels a lot like each of us. She’s nobody. She’s an orphan and a slave, allowed to earn her meager existence by the generosity of those in control. Because of her faith, Bethany is an outcast even among outcasts. The lowest society has to offer.

It wasn’t always this way, but this is Bethany’s life now. She follows orders. She merely exists looking for the day she can be reunited with the ones who she’s lost. Regardless of the opposition, she keeps her faith. But that doesn’t make her extraordinary. Does it?

On the day her world changes completely, Bethany’s faith is what saves her. Not knowing truth from lies or friend from enemy, Bethany’s faith helps her navigate her newly war-ravaged world, making enough sense of it to decide who should receive her loyalty.

Her captors insist they are her liberators. Her enslavers argue the intruders are set to destroy everything in Bethany’s world if they are not stopped. It’s an ultimate battle of life and death that hinges on Bethany realizing she’s never been alone, and she is the sole possessor of knowledge that will forever change the course of her world.

Bethany is exactly who and what she needs to be for the world she lives in. So are we. We many not have the audience of Billy Graham, Sheila Walsh, or Louie Giglio. But that’s okay. When God sent Gideon to face an unbeatable army, He whittled Gideon’s forces down to an impossible number before the battle began.

They didn’t need huge numbers and strength for God to use them. God’s strength is what made the difference. And maybe we won’t be used to rescue millions from eternity separated from God or to do something as important to humanity as carrying the Savior. But that does’t mean the seemingly unimportant things God calls us to are really unimportant.

When God led Naomi to return home, it didn’t seem like a big deal. It was survival. When Ruth went with her, it was companionship. It seemed unimportant as far as eternity goes. When Naomi guided Ruth into seeking out Boaz as her kinsman redeemer, the reason seemed pretty plain. Ruth and Naomi wanted to survive. This was the best way to do it.

But in being faithful to God through those simple daily choices, Ruth and Naomi played a part in the greatest story of all. Without Ruth and Boaz, Christ’s lineage wouldn’t have happened as it did. We see that now, but they didn’t know it then. Choices that seemed inconsequential proved vital in God’s plan.

It’s a good reminder for you and me, as we make a thousand choices in how to live each day.

Bethany got to see how who she was could impact her world. Has God ever allowed you to see how He’s using you to change yours?

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