I once heard of a woman who had locked her keys in her car at a mall. Not having the funds to call a locksmith, she prayed and asked God to help her. Shortly after, a rough looking man came up to her and asked if she needed any help. She told him that her keys were locked in her car; and in no time, the man used a wire and lifted the lock. The woman thanked him and said that he was an answer to prayer and an angel. The man said, "Oh, I am not an angel, ma'am. I just got out of prison." The woman looked to heaven and said, "Oh Lord, You are so good! You sent me an expert!"
One truth throughout Scripture is that God uses people to fulfill His plans and answer prayer. Sometimes they are people we least expect. From Genesis to Revelation, the Lord used ordinary people to meet needs and be used as His instruments to bring deliverance, provision, or leadership. The following are just a few examples of those that the Lord called and used. God called a normal man named Abraham to leave everything behind to start a new life in an unknown land he had never seen (Genesis 12). Through this man, all peoples would be blessed. Through a man who was disgraced, God delivered a nation from captivity. That man was Moses, a leader who was reluctant and insecure (Exodus 3). Gideon was an obscure man from a family of no prominence, but the Lord used him to defeat an enemy that was so oppressive that they impoverished the people of God (Judges 6). God chose a young shepherd boy named David to be the King of Israel (1 Samuel 16). The prophet Amos answered a critic by saying, "I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, 'Go prophesy to my people Israel' " (Amos 7:14-15).
In the New Testament, God used a young virgin to be the mother of Jesus; and the disciples included fisherman, a tax collector, and religious zealots. None of those would have been on the Jerusalem Who's Who list, but they were chosen by God to turn the world upside down. By the world's standards and today's aptitude tests, Judas Iscariot would have been seen as the only one acceptable. He was personally resourceful, financially shrewd, and corporately calculating. The other disciples would have been rejected because they were petty, self-centered, concerned with personal power and position plus rash and vindictive. God, however, chose them before the Holy Spirit changed them and set them ablaze for His purposes. They were ordinary, imperfect, and unprepared, but God knew their potential and promise.
While I directed CPCs, repeatedly God answered my prayers through people. The Lord impressed people to give financially, become volunteers, or meet other needs that we prayed about. As I directed a center in Tennessee, we worked toward converting to go medical. Our Board thought it would take about 3 years to raise the funds, prepare internally, and staff the expansion. The Lord, however, put the major pieces of funding and staff together in just 3 weeks. At a center in Pennsylvania, we bought a building and paid it off in 15 months. With every banquet at every center, the income grew and often astounded us at the amount of increase. The key reason was that God used people to become part of His ministry.
I keep a card in my wallet to remind me of this foundational truth. This jewel of wisdom came from Pastor Rick Warren, and I have experienced its reality repeatedly. The card states: "Great people are ready to help me at just the right time, in just the right way, from people I don't even know yet. I promise I will never give up because I don't have what I need, but I will trust God to provide."
God uses people to meet needs, accomplish worthwhile tasks, and open doors of opportunity that possibly only God and the person in need know about. In faith and trust, we pray and God answers — sometimes in unexpected ways. At one time, our center was low on funds, and I was feeling the pressure of the bills and slow income. I asked someone to pray with me. Unknown to me, he went to his small country church and shared the ministry's situation. The church had never given to the center before, but the Lord led them to give the ministry $5000 cash and a pledge of $150 per month. This was a small church of only 75 people, but God used them to meet our need. What a surprising blessing! I have talked with dozens of centers that have these kinds of stories to tell of God's unexpected blessings.
The good news is that God will use people around you in the same way. All the funds your center needs are already in your community. God has already put them in peoples' hands and bank accounts. The key is to share your vision and ask God to speak to their hearts to release the funds He has entrusted to them. God will use the big dream that drives you to inspire them to invest in what the Lord is doing at your center. All the volunteers you need are also in your area. The key is to ask God to call them while you regularly extend invitations.
As you are serving in pregnancy ministry, be encouraged for God is using you to be the answer to peoples' prayers. God is impressing upon you words of encouragement to those who are overwhelmed and lonely, even though they hide behind a smile. He speaks to your heart and mind as you minister to clients in need. When God uses you, past failures do not disqualify you and imperfections do not diminish your abilities. As God calls you, His Spirit is working through you to be effective and powerful. Again, God uses people, and He wants to bless others through you. As you listen and respond to His prompting, you will be blessed. By following God's lead, you will be an answer to prayer, used to change and save lives. God is using you!
Pastor Mark Hiehle is the senior pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene in Chickasha, Oklahoma. While pastoring, Mark continues to write and speak for PCC banquets on behalf of life. He can be reached through www.highcalling.com.