This devotional was originally published on August 19, 2020.
Picture this: a young man is born into a royal family with all the rights, privileges, and power that it entails. As a grandson of the king, he enjoys a charmed childhood, a luxurious upbringing, and a future that seems safe and secure.
Until one day he makes a decision that changes his life forever.
As a grandson of the Pharaoh, Moses had quite a different upbringing from that of his fellow Jewish kinsmen who were slaves to the Egyptians. While Moses must have enjoyed all the perks and privileges that came with his position, there came a day when he could no longer tolerate the mistreatment of his people. As he watched one of his fellow Jews being beaten by an Egyptian, Moses murdered the Egyptian. Once he realized he had been found out, he ran away in fear to Midian, a land of wilderness and wasteland — and a far cry from the comforts of Egypt.
And he stayed there for 40 years.
These were not 40 years of posh Egyptian living. They were four decades of shepherding. The privilege he had enjoyed as a grandson of the king was long gone, buried in the sand along with the murdered Egyptian. At that point, it would have been easy for Moses to believe that his life was dead and gone as well.
But God had other plans.
At the burning bush of Mt. Horeb (Exodus 3), God came to Moses with a startling command: free my people from Egypt. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse, but he tried his best to do so. He had a long list of reasons as to why he wasn’t the man for the job, but God wasn’t interested in his excuses. He only promised Moses: “I will be with you” (v. 12), and that would be enough.
The truth is that inventorying our own inadequacies only serves to draw our attention away from what is really happening. God is initiating, God is planning, and God is orchestrating. God is providing, and he is fulfilling. And we are, in a sense, along for the ride. In focusing on our own imperfections (and how they supposedly disqualify us), we forget about whose plan it is in the first place, and how his perfection is more than enough to outweigh our own inadequacies.
Let’s get one thing straight: we will never be more than ordinary human beings. As much as our culture glorifies superheroes, none of us falls into that category. But in the hands of an extraordinary God, ordinary is enough. We may not have super vision, but if we have faith, we will have enough vision to see the hand of God working around us. We may not have super speed, but we can walk with God at just the right pace. We may not have super strength but, through faith, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work within us (Ephesians 1:19–20). Ultimately, it’s not that we need to become super, it’s that he already is.
If God needed Moses to be super in order to carry out his plan, he would have come to him while he was still in a position of power and influence at Pharaoh’s court. Instead, he waited until after Moses had made his move against the Egyptian, fled to a distant land, and spent 40 years in obscurity before finally calling him to action.
So if you’re feeling ordinary right about now — perhaps even less than ordinary — you’re in good company. It is people just like you who God has used throughout history to accomplish his purposes. But Hebrews 11 reveals the common thread that weaves these characters together in the history of God’s people: faith. Faith in who God says he is, faith in his ability to act on behalf of his people, and faith in his authority over everything in all creation. It is faith and faith alone that can enable an ordinary person to do extraordinary things under the leadership and care of a supremely extraordinary God.
So today, your ordinariness doesn’t disqualify you from obeying God. In fact, it may actually be your ticket to a life of faith and obedience that is truly extraordinary.