God's creativity knows no bounds. For as many needs as there are in the world, He has as many ways to meet them. Sometimes He raises up people to be in the right place at the right time who respond to His call, sometimes He multiplies people's limited resources that are offered to Him with an open hand, and sometimes He bypasses humans altogether to do something only He can do.
I am inspired by stories of Bible characters who fit perfectly with a specific calling. We can see that their lives up to certain point had all been a time of preparation for this specific moment or situation. Like a puzzle piece being placed in the exact spot to complete the puzzle.
Joseph, with plenty of reasons to have a resentful and bitter heart, instead extended mercy and forgiveness to his brothers during the time of severe drought when he was in a position of power in Egypt. Even though his brothers had intended to harm him, God had intended all of Joseph's mistreatment for good, for the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20 is one of my favorites.) There was clearly a higher purpose in what Joseph had suffered. And God was able to use him to meet the need of His people because Joseph's life had remained open to Him.
Esther, selected to become the Queen of Persia because of her outward beauty, stepped out bravely because of her inner courage and faith to speak to the king and uncover Hamaan's evil plot, in order to save the Jewish people from annihilation. She was willing to sacrifice her very life to do what she believed God was asking of her and had specifically created her for.
Nehemiah, a cupbearer to the king in Babylon during the time of the Israelites' exile there, received news of the dismal situation in Jerusalem and wept. Then God placed on his heart His plan for rebuilding the city wall, and gave Nehemiah the vision and leadership skills to accomplish the task in an amazingly short period of time, in the midst of great opposition.
And so, the Israelites were saved from the drought during Joseph's time and moved to a safe place in Egypt, where their numbers increased greatly over the next 400 years. They were protected again years later through Esther's act of courage, who was "born for such a time as this." And the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt so the Israelites could be protected from their enemies after their return from captivity in Babylon. These needs were met by people God raised up for specific purposes. They each recognized the need and God's specific call on their lives, and they responded in obedience.
I also love stories in the Bible that demonstrate how God used what people had and multiplied it. The story of the widow and Elijah is one of my favorites. She only had enough flour and oil to make on last loaf before she and her son would die. The prophet Elijah appeared at her door and asked her to first make a loaf for him. She obeyed, and as a result, her supply of flour and oil did not run out until the famine was over. (1 Kings 17)
Many years later, when Jesus' disciples realized that the time was late and the multitudes who had come to hear Jesus had no food, they wanted to send them all away. But Jesus asked them to take stock of what they had. Only five loaves and two fish. But it was enough. Enough to feed 5000 men (plus women and children) with 12 basketfuls leftover. The miracle of multiplication. (Luke 9)
Maybe even more than how I love the way God uses people and what they have to offer, I love the way He sometimes shows people a need and then meets the need Himself because there is no other way.
In the very beginning, God created Adam and gave him the task of naming all the animals. No helper was found that was suitable for Adam. So, Adam must have recognized his need for a companion. God then caused him to fall into a deep sleep, and He made a woman. From one of Adam's ribs she was formed. The perfect match for man.
And in the end, Revelation 5 tells of a scroll with seven seals. "But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." (v. 3-5)
The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and sang:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth." (v. 9-10)
Then thousands upon thousands of angels sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and praise!" (v. 12)
Then every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth sang:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever." (v. 13)
Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, is the only one who is worthy. The only one who is able.
And Jesus is the only answer to our greatest need for salvation.
Because of His obedience and how He responded to the specific call on His life, He will receive all praise and honor and glory and power forever. Amen.