Interestingly, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Let’s face it, we all want to feel useful. It’s built into the fabric of our human nature. Yet, many people feel as though they are not useful at all. This negative viewpoint leaks into their spiritual lives and slowly poisons their relationship with God. The Bible says to fix your thoughts on what is true (Philipians 4:8). But because many people are always looking at their unfavorable circumstances, they are blinded to the fact that God wants to use them in a very powerful way. If this describes you, then before you throw in the towel you must reconsider the biblical account of a woman named Abigail.
Recently, her story leaped out from the pages of the Bible and became incredibly real to me (1 Samuel 25). If anyone needed a second chance it was Abigail. You see Abigail was an abused wife. How do I know that? Well, notice how the Bible described her husband. It said that Nabal was cruel, foolish, and cursed. Abigail was described as beautiful and sensible. Understandably, it must have seemed as though she should have had it all. However, life appeared to have dealt her an incredibly unfair hand. Day after day, she had to deal with Nabal. Imagine the pity mirrored back at her through the eyes of her community. She certainly didn’t look like someone God wanted to use powerfully. Some may even have thought that she had been forgotten by Him. But even so , because of her righteousness, she caught the attention of the Most High and through a divinely orchestrated meeting, she was used to prevent a major disaster.
For instance, after Abigail caught wind of David’s plot to retaliate and murder Nabal and all the males of his household, she courageously descended a mountain ,in the middle of the night, in pursuit of David. And when she caught up with him, she threw herself on the ground, bowing at his feet declaring herself as his servant. This was a risky move but Abigail knew how to deal with angry, hot-headed men. With quick thinking and God-given wisdom, she was able to stop David from shedding innocent blood. In response, he wisely declared,
“The God of Israel has sent you to meet me today!”
When David heard that Nabal had been struck dead by God, he showed his gratitude to this remarkable woman by asking for her hand in marriage. In all this, God gave Abigail a second chance.
But just think for a moment what would have happened if David would have gone along with his murderous plot? How would it have affected not only himself but the future of Israel? Remember when David disobeyed God and 70,000 people perished (2 Samuel 24:15)? So it is very likely that Abigail was used to save not only her household but countless lives in the future.
What a wonderful example of how someone living through adverse circumstances can still be used mightily by God! In fact, it is usually those who are considered less likely that God chooses to use. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 says,
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair… We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
Indeed, life is certainly not without adversity. But because of our human weaknesses, we have the privilege of being like clay jars overflowing with the strength that God mercifully pours into us. Psalm 138:8 gives us even more reason to be confident. It simply says,
“The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me.”
My friends, God cannot fail! We are going to be used in a meaningful way, according to his good purpose so commit this verse to memory. Carry it ever so close to your hearts so that like Abigail you will forever be useful vessels, always ready for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21).