DO WE have to be extraordinary or outstanding in some way to be noticed by God? Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is quoted as having said:
The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he makes so many of them.
Many feel that they are ordinary people who have nothing special to offer. Being ordinary may have the connotation of being “poor, inferior.” Similarly, the word “common” may indicate “a lack of privilege or special status,” “falling below ordinary standards,” or even “second-rate.” What kind of people do you prefer to be around? Arrogant, assertive, proud individuals? Would you not rather be around friendly, humble, unpretentious people who show a sincere, warm interest in others?
Since emotional bullying and ridicule are common in the world today, some find it difficult to believe that God is personally interested in them. “I came from a family that showed little love. I was belittled, teased, and laughed at. So, early in life I felt worthless,” wrote a reader of this magazine. “I still carry entrenched feelings from my past that beat me down when I experience calamity.” Yet, there are reasons to believe that God is personally interested in ordinary people.
God’s Interest in Common People
Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable. wrote King David. (Psalm 145:3)
However, this does not prevent God from caring for us in a loving and compassionate way. (1 Peter 5:7) For example, the psalmist stated:
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.—Psalm 34:18.
Things that attract attention in the world, such as physical beauty, prestige, or wealth, are not what God considers important. God’s Law to Israel showed his compassionate interest in poor people, orphans, widows, and foreigners. God told the Israelites, who had themselves been treated cruelly in Egypt:
You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; And My wrath shall burn; I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless. (Exodus 22:21-24)
Moreover, the prophet Isaiah expressed his confidence in God’s care for the lowly:
For You have been a stronghold for the poor, a stronghold for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the ruthless ones is like a rainstorm against a wall.—Isaiah 25:4.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus Christ, who is “the exact representation” of God, became an example to his disciples in showing genuine interest in common people. (Hebrews 1:3) On seeing the crowds who “were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd,” Jesus “felt pity for them.”—Matthew 9:36.
Notice also what kind of people Jesus chose as his apostles—men who were described as “unlettered and ordinary.” (Acts 4:13) After the death of Jesus, his followers began to invite all sorts of people to listen to God’s Word. The apostle Paul wrote that “any unbeliever or ordinary person” could come into the Christian congregation and become a believer. (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25) Rather than choosing just those admired according to worldly standards, God selected many plain, ordinary people for his service.
For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, so that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.—1 Corinthians 1:26-29.
Today, God is likewise sincerely interested in us. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) If God loved mankind so much that he sent his Son to earth to die for us, we have no reason to feel that we are unloved or worthless. (John 3:16) Jesus Christ showed his followers the importance of treating even the most insignificant one of his spiritual brothers as if dealing with Jesus personally. He said:
And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me. (Matthew 25:40)
Regardless of how the world may view us, if we love the truth, we are special in God’s eyes.
That is how Francisco, a fatherless Brazilian boy, felt after developing a personal relationship with God. He explains:
Knowing God and his organization helped me to cope with my feelings of insecurity and timidity. I learned that God is personally interested in each one of us.
To Francisco, God became a real Father.
Concern for Young People
God takes a genuine interest in young people not only as a group but as individuals. Of course, young or old, we never want to think too highly of ourselves. Yet, we may have talents and qualities that God can use in the future. God knows what refinement and training we need to make full use of our potential. For example, notice the account in 1 Samuel chapter 16. Since other prospective candidates for Israel’s kingship seemed more qualified to the prophet Samuel, God explained His reasons for choosing David, the youngest son of Jesse, as the future king of Israel:
But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.—1 Samuel 16:7.
Can young people today be confident that God shows genuine interest in them? Consider Britney young woman. As is the case with many other youths, she was disturbed by seeing corruption and injustice. Then her father began to take her and her sisters to Christian meetings. In time, she began to enjoy what she was learning about the Word of God. Britney began to read the Bible together with Christian publications and to pray to God. Gradually, she developed an intimate relationship with God. She explains:
I enjoyed riding my bicycle to a hill near my home where I could observe beautiful sunsets. I prayed to God and thanked him for his kindness and generosity, trying to express how much I loved him. Getting to know God and his purposes gave me tranquility and a feeling of security.
Do you too try to find time to ponder over God’s loving care?
Admittedly, our background may stand in the way of our enjoying an intimate relationship with God. Take for example Wendy. When she opened up to her father about a matter of deep personal concern, he simply brushed her off, saying: “Nonsense.” Although understanding that her father wanted her to forget the problem, Wendy says:
Studying the Bible gave me everything that I desired and much more. The attractive personality of God made him my best friend. Now I have a loving, understanding Father to whom I can pour out my feelings and my most intimate fears. I can spend hours talking with the most important Person in the universe, certain that he will listen to me.
Such Bible texts as Philippians 4:6, 7 helped her to feel God’s loving care. That passage says:
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Help to Care for Your Needs
God shows his concern for his servants individually as well as for his worldwide congregation. We can show our love for our heavenly Father by taking time to talk to him. We should never take for granted our relationship with him. David was constantly aware of his relationship with God. He said:
Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.—Psalm 25:4, 5.
The idea of having an intimate relationship with God may be new to you. Whatever problems you may have, you can always be confident that the Most High will be able to help you, in harmony with his will. (1 John 5:14, 15) Hence, learn to make your prayers specific, taking into consideration your circumstances and needs.
The importance of recognizing our needs is highlighted in the prayer that King Solomon offered when the temple was inaugurated: “In case a famine occurs in the land, in case a pestilence occurs, in case scorching and mildew, locusts and cockroaches occur; in case their enemies besiege them in the land of their gates—any sort of plague and any sort of malady—whatever prayer, whatever request for favor there may occur on the part of any man or of all your people Israel, because they know each one his own plague and his own pain . . . Then may you yourself hear from the heavens, . . . and you must forgive and give to each one according to all his ways.” (2 Chronicles 6:28-30) Indeed, only you yourself ‘know your own plague and your own pain.’ How vital, then, it is to acknowledge your real needs and desires. If you do, “[God] will give you the requests of your heart.”—Psalm 37:4.
Strengthen Your Relationship With God
God is pleased to let ordinary people enjoy an intimate relationship with him. His Word assures us:
And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
Really, God and his Son want us to succeed and gain everlasting life. How encouraging it is to know that God will help us in caring for our responsibilities in the family, at work, and in the Christian congregation!
Still, we all face critical times. Poor health, family problems, low income, or something else may cause us pain. We may not know how to deal with a test or a trial. The increased pressures are, directly or indirectly, caused by the wicked accuser, Satan the Devil, who is waging a spiritual war against God’s people. However, there is someone who understands us and helps us to maintain a good relationship with God. He is no other than Jesus Christ in his elevated position in the heavens. We read:
For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly, confidently, and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].—Hebrews 4:15, 16.
How reassuring to know that we do not have to be famous or wealthy to enjoy God’s favor! Even when in sore straits, be like the psalmist who prayed:
Have mercy and be gracious unto me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; with grief my eye is weakened, also my inner self and my body. For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and even my bones have wasted away. To all my enemies I have become a reproach, but especially to my neighbors, and a dread to my acquaintances, who flee from me on the street. I am forgotten like a dead man, and out of mind; like a broken vessel am I. For I have heard the slander of many; terror is on every side! While they schemed together against me, they plotted to take my life. But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God.
[As for me] I am poor and needy, yet the Lord takes thought and plans for me. You are my Help and my Deliverer. O my God, do not tarry! (Psalm 31:9-14; 40:17)
Be assured that God loves humble, ordinary people. Really, ‘we can throw all our anxiety upon him because he cares for us.’—1 Peter 5:7.