Second choice, but full of faith


Did you ever feel like you were second choice? If you did, apparently Billy Graham did, too.
On Monday at our writers’ group, we talked about Graham and how he said he was God’s second choice. A man from Canada was supposed to lead the ministry, but he backed away from the call. Graham, raised on a dairy farm outside Charlotte, stepped into the man’s place and became one of the world’s most famous Christian leaders.
At the meeting, someone shared, “The man walked away and he knows who he is. I bet he wished he hadn’t refused the offer after seeing the ministry of Billy Graham.”
But there was only one Billy Graham and he was the perfect choice, even if he felt he was second choice. The other would have looked differently and probably wouldn’t have been as effective.
Is it possible we are standing in someone else’s place, wearing our shoes and walking our walk? I believe it happens all the time. Others will back away and we don’t know any better than to walk it out. The fruition doesn’t show up until years later when we say, “I guess it was in me all along.”
I said, “If the Canadian bolted at the beginning, he wouldn’t have had the faith to complete the task for the longevity and or have the effectiveness that Billy Graham had. Second choice was the better choice.”
I read a passage about Gideon. He was threshing wheat by the winepress, hiding from the Midianites. The enemy had destroyed Israel’s fields.
The Angel of the Lord said, “The Lord is with you, go you mighty man of valor.”
The angel told him to go in “this might” and save Israel.
What was “this might”? At the moment he didn’t think or look like a champion. He was full of fear and argued that his family was poor from Manasseh and he was the least in his father’s house.
Many of us feel less than adequate, unexceptional and the least of the least. We are no different than Gideon. I believe “this might” was his faith in God’s words and how God saw him completed. But he had to be developed and stretched from the farmer hiding in the winepress to the warrior defeating the enemy on the battlefield.
It’s not who we are or where we start, but what God says about us and the task he has before us. I don’t know if I was second choice, but I surely was inadequate at the time when I was asked to write “Artist’s Lane,” a weekly column. That was 10 years ago. It was Karl Isberg who saw something in me. I will always sing his praise.
That column led to another weekly column, “A Matter of Faith,” where writers were hiding behind their computers wanting to express their faith, but feeling inadequate. They have become courageous writers on the battlefield.
Twenty committed Christian writers here in Pagosa, full of faith, have attended weekly meetings for the past three years learning their craft. Their faith has been stretched, their ability has been honed and their words have been written and rewritten, edited and re-edited.
God works with raw material. He knows our potential. When He called Gideon, He knew he was the man to do the job. Gideon didn’t know what he had in him. His obedience in God’s words showed him after much testing of his faith. His 32,000 men were reduced to 300. With only a trumpet, clay pitcher and torch, his men yelled, “The sword of the Lord and Gideon.” There wasn’t a sword among them. They won the battle because they trusted in the Lord’s words.
Graham’s key virtue was his humility. He might have felt the other man could have done it better, but he couldn’t have. He said when he reached heaven, he was going to ask God, “Why me?”
Sometimes it is a real stretch for us to be who we are called to be, but it is God who is faithful to complete what he has started.
A writer’s friend wrote after reading one of my articles, “How do we keep going?” I responded, “By faith.”
Graham went home and I am sure God met him with these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter my joy.”
Final brushstroke: David’s words in the Psalm says God designed us and fashioned our days before they were. We might feel we are second choice, and the least of our father’s house, and not sufficient for the call, but God says we can do it. One day we also will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
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