Written by Joe Smith

    I once had a professor in University ask our class about Bible stories we read as kids. Many of us owned illustrated children’s books that told simplified versions of the stories we find in the Bible. He asked if we could remember what characters were included in our books. We started to think and named off a bunch of the “regulars” from the Bible. One of those regulars was Samson.

    Samson had a pretty cool gift from God. He had superhuman strength. Stronger than anyone ever! As a kid I remember first reading about poor Samson falling in love with a woman who was only in the relationship for selfish reasons. She found out the secret to his strength and told his enemies, the Philistines (yeah, these guys again!), who took him captive. The story reached a climax when Samson gained revenge on the Philistines when he used his strength one last time to topple an entire building. It was his last hoorah. The building fell on him, but it also killed thousands of the “bad guys”. It certainly isn’t the feel good story of the Bible, but I remember thinking there was some consolation to all of Samson’s mistreatments. I saw Samson as this gentle giant who was able to get back at those who mistreated him. 

    This is what I thought until my professor went on a little bit of a rant during class. He explained:

    “Samson’s story is found in the book of Judges because Samson was appointed by God as a ‘Judge’ or leader to temporarily save his people (The Israelites) from all of the oppression that was going on. However, when compared to all of the other Judges in the book, Samson is one of the most selfish, immodest, hostile, compulsive people on the list! But he is included in all of the kids’ books! How can we promote this?”

    Here is the amazing fact I took away from the professor’s little speech: God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plans. Samson broke many rules, disobeyed his parents, fell in love with many of the “wrong” women, lashed out at others and while those were all displeasing to God, He still had a plan for Samson’s life. God was still able to use Samson for His glory.

    Hockey is full of snap decisions and sometimes you make the wrong one. Maybe you’ve said something on the ice that you shouldn’t have said. Perhaps you took a bad penalty at a critical time during the game. Maybe you’ve snapped on a teammate for making a mistake. While all of these things don’t reflect the love of Christ in your heart, it doesn’t mean you’ve blown your chance to represent God. One of the best ways to show you’re different and a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) is not by being mistake free because that is impossible. It’s by how you react and recover from your mistakes. In Samson’s final hours he didn’t dwell on his many mistakes, but he called out to God for help saying, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please God, strengthen me…” (Judges 16:28). Much like Samson we are urged to call on the name of the Lord to help us in every aspect of our lives. The Lord can use all of us to tell others about God and be a representative of Christ. We should not see our mistakes in life as a reason why we can’t tell people about God. We should use our mistakes to explain the grace of God and how that can be available to all who believe (John 1:12). 

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