God Can Use the Underdog

I love a good underdog, dont you? We watched How to Train Your Dragon last night, & I was reminded again how much I love that movie. If you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend it! Hiccup, the main character, is a complete failure by normal Viking standards, especially his father's. That doesn't stop him from trying, though, and early in the movie he manages to capture Night Fury, the most ferocious dragon alive. And that's just the beginning. Killing your first dragon was everything in their culture--it's what made you a true Viking. But Hiccup decided to do something that no Viking in all of history had ever done before {no spoiler alert here}.

 Or take Melissa d'Arabian, the winner of season 5 of The Next Food Network Star. I remember being instantly drawn into the show by this regular, stay-at-home-mom of four who was up against professional chefs left and right, competing to win her own show. I was ecstatic as chef after chef was eliminated, and yet she remained. She was by far the underdog, and at face value she stood the least chance of winning. But win she did! She had a natural gift and talent in the kitchen that far surpassed even the professional training and experience she stood up against. She now has her own hit show called 10 Dollar Dinners and has published a cookbook, among other things.

So why do we root for the underdogs? I think it gives all of us regular folks HOPE. Hope and a belief that God can use regular, ordinary, messed up people, like us, to accomplish great things in His name. And He has a history of doing so, as recorded in the Bible:

"Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Abraham was old,… and Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!" {Anonymous}

Each and every person that God chose to use mightily was largely unqualified in some manner, often in the most vital way pertaining to their calling. A great speaker who stutters, a very old man who's supposed to be the father of all nations... You get the idea. That's the irony of God's plan most of the time. He can see what we can't. He just requires obedience, & He will take care of the rest. And besides, if we had it all together and were already the perfect candidate, where would be the need for God? God intentionally uses the underdog to magnify and bring glory to Himself. To remove any doubt whatsoever that it was God at work.

Do you feel like an underdog in some area of your life? Underdogs tend to have some things in common. They all:
  • Are up against overwhelming odds and would be the least likely person to succeed.
  • Have been made to believe that they are a failure and don't measure up.
  • Don't fit in. They're outsiders.
  • Must persevere through obstacles in the face of opposition, often at great personal cost. 
But underdogs also:
  • Have unique gifts and abilities that are largely unrecognized or unappreciated but that set them apart from the rest.
  • Were created for such a time as this, for a specific point in history.
  • Have a way of looking at life differently that requires bravery and stepping out in faith.
  • Have incredible resolve, drive, and endurance.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." {2 Cor. 12:9-10} 

Could it be that God wants to use you mightily as an underdog? Take time to ask God where He wants you to step out in obedience today. It might just be the last place you would think!