God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things

Published 7:30 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

Author/Minister Charles Swindoll tells the remarkable story of a B-17 pilot who flew a bombing mission over Germany near the end of World War II. On that day, his plane was hit several times by shells and flak, some directly hitting his fuel tank.

Miraculously, the B-17 bomber landed safely, instead of going down in a flaming crash. Upon returning from the mission, eleven unexploded twenty-millimeter shells were taken out of the fuel tank.

When the shells were dismantled, everyone was amazed to find all were empty of explosives. A note, written in the Czech language, was discovered inside one shell which provided an explanation. Translated, the note read, “This is all we can do for you now.”

It was determined that a member of the Czech underground, working on an assembly line at a German munitions factory, left out the explosives in the shells. One wonders whether the unknown worker ever knew that his efforts to undermine the Nazi war machine made any difference in the outcome of the war. It certainly did, at least for this B-17 pilot.

Author Philip Yancey writes that we may wonder, “What can one person do? What difference will my small effort make?” He recalls watching a public television series interviewing soldiers about how they spent a particular day during World War II.

“Mostly, the day passed like any other day as an infantryman on the front,” says Yancey. Some soldiers recalled being involved in furious firefights, while others sat all day in a foxhole shooting once or twice at a German tank driving by.

“Later they learned they had participated in one of the largest, most decisive engagements of the war, the Battle of the Bulge. It didn’t feel decisive to any of them at the time because none had the big picture of what was happening elsewhere.

“Great victories are won when ordinary people execute their assigned task,” Yancey concludes. Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in much…” (Luke 16:10).

Gospel singer Danniebelle Hall wrote a song titled, “Ordinary People” that says, “Just ordinary people. God uses ordinary people. He chooses people just like you and me to do as He commands.

“God uses people that will give Him all, no matter how small your all may seem to you because little becomes much when you place it in the Master’s hand.”

A boy gave his lunch of “five loaves and the two fish” (Luke 9:13 NKJ). Jesus blessed it and fed more than five thousand people with it. Nancy Leigh DeMoss once said, “Don’t assume you have to be extraordinary to be used by God. You don’t have to have exceptional gifts, talents, abilities, or connections. God specializes in using ordinary people whose limitations and weakness make them ideal showcases for His greatness and glory.”