By Kristen Entwistle
I was a competitive swimmer in high school, and at the end of each season, we would swim in a final regional championship meet. The fastest forty swimmers from our region and two others would then get to compete in the district meet a few weeks later. In my senior year, I finally made it to the district meet in one individual event and one relay event with my teammates.
After a crowded warm-up early in the morning, the preliminary heats began. Only the fastest forty swimmers in each event from our district and four others would get to compete in the state meet two weeks later.
This meet was the culmination of my entire high school swimming career, and I was determined to make the most of it. I wanted to be that one in a million shot – the swimmer who had no chance of making it to the state meet, but somehow made it. I wanted to be extraordinary.
I wasn’t. I had a very bad race, and did not make it to the state finals (which I never really had a chance at making anyway). I felt inadequate and ordinary. But my coach reminded me that day that even though I wasn’t the fastest swimmer, and even though I didn’t make it to the state meet, God had different plans for me. The local newspaper had written an article on me because I was a swimmer with a life-shortening disease who had made it to the district meet. I was just an ordinary girl, with her own insecurities, challenges, and struggles, but God used me for His extraordinary plans, in ways that I may never fully understand.
I am ordinary, and that’s a good thing. Because when God uses my story for His glory, I hope that people see Him instead of me.
As we near the end of our study on the Heroes of Hope in Hebrews 11, we come to two ordinary men – Jephthah and Samson – who, just like me and you, were ordinary men with an extraordinary God.