Some years ago, when I was in college, I wanted to have some direction in my life, to understand what God was telling me to do. I didn’t have a clue so I got involved in a Christian student organization.
They offered several opportunities for short-term mission activity, lasting usually a week or two, and I took advantage of those I could. After several of these in which I did things like beach and boardwalk witnessing and building demolition and construction, I was given the opportunity for a slightly longer mission. It consisted of a position helping churches or missionaries in the field for a three-month period during the summer. I didn’t feel particularly inclined to go, but I didn’t see a good reason not to either. Just seemed like the thing to do, so I applied.
The application asked for a preference of service locations. I looked at the required knowledge and skills of several and chose Hawaii.
Yes, I know. Everyone wants to go suffer for Jesus in Hawaii. But it actually looked like something I could do. Looking back, that was probably the reason God saw fit to send me to Norwich, Connecticut.
Scripture tells us that when we are weak, He is strong. It’s not about Him giving us the strength to do something. It’s the fact that He has to do it through us which shows His great power and gives Him all the glory. And no, God isn’t a narcissist who insists on being a glory hound. It’s just that existence is all about Him, so everything must point to Him or it doesn’t function correctly. I can explain further, but that needs to be another post.
Anyway, the position in Norwich was with a church who wanted two missionaries to do backyard Bible clubs and a Vacation Bible School. I had attended such as a child, but I’d never led or directed one. And I had absolutely no clue how to deal with children. Teenagers I could probably swing, but kids scared me.
As it turned out, God had all of that planned. When I arrived at orientation and was paired with my partner, who was a lovely young lady from Georgia, I learned she had spent her early years working with her mother in a daycare. No problems with children.
When we arrived on the field, the paster of the church informed us their youth minister had just been called away and we would need to work with the youth for the summer. So, my partner took the lead for the Bible clubs each week, and I led with the youth.
I can’t say it was an easy summer, but by the end, we had children from all over the city come to the Vacation Bible School and the youth group didn’t want us to leave. God had worked everything out without any input from me other than my obedience and willingness to listen. But He wasn’t through yet.
One day the pastor suggested we take a night off and go hear a traveling singing group at another church. After the concert, the group held auditions, and long story short, I was accepted. However, a few weeks later I realized I didn’t have the finances to go. I was starting another school year and money would be very tight. I chalked it up to an honor to have been selected and forgot about it. But God didn’t.
The next April, He had someone provide the money for me to go, and a few weeks after the term ended, I was on my way to Colorado for another summer adventure.
Tour was grueling in some aspects. A typical day consisted of arriving at a new location, unloading and setting up equipment, practicing for a few hours, changing clothes, doing a two-hour program, changing again, tearing down and loading equipment, then spending the night at a host family home, only to get up the next morning and do it all over again. I had an absolute blast. But as God was in control, sometimes He blessed us with a surprise.
Fast forward a couple of months to a church in Kansas. The morning after the concert, we arrived to load up for the day’s drive only to see the bus leaving with just our director, crew chief, and one of the church members. A few hours later they returned ready to go and with an incredible story to share.
We had noticed a mechanical problem with the dual axle of our bus some weeks before, but our mechanics in Colorado thought we could make it back with no problem. After the concert the previous night, our crew chief just so happened to stay with a man who owned a big truck company. When he saw our bus the next morning he knew instantly we had a serious problem, but he offered to take care of it.
After getting the bus in the shop, they tried to remove the outer wheel to fix the issue, but it wouldn’t come apart from the inner one. Finally, they removed them as a pair and discovered a crack in the inner rim which couldn’t be seen from the outside. A second problem which was easy enough to fix, but would have been disastrous had it come apart on the road.
They removed the part causing the original problem and took it to the parts store for a replacement. The problem was that, although large trucks and buses are very similar in some aspects, some parts are specific. The parts manager said he wouldn’t have anything like it, but he would check his shelves anyway, just in case he could find something that could be adapted.
He returned a few minutes later with a very confused look on his face and the exact part we needed. He said he had no idea why that part was on the shelf as he had neither ordered it nor had he ever had need to do so. He sold it to us at a discount.
After getting the new part on the bus, the young man who had done all the work would not take any payment. As it turned out, the previous year his life was a mess involving drugs and other issues. Our group was performing at that same church, and his boss had invited him to the concert. He was so out of it because of drugs that the only part of the program he could remember was one of the puppet skits. But God used that memory to work in his life and he eventually became a Christian. Since that day, he had been praying for a way to pay back the kindness he was shown.
I am amazed when I look back at everything that took place from the time I stepped out in obedience. Can you imagine the timing and organization that had to take place for everything to happen just as it did?
I had to be obedient to go. I had to be sent to Norwich to play one part that wasn’t planned and be paired up with someone who could play the other. I had to be in the right place in the country to encounter the music group. Someone had to see the need to invest in the group financially to get me there. The group had to play at that church the previous year as well as the current one. The bus had to hold up until we got to that location. Our crew chief had to stay at the truck shop owner’s home. The wheels had to stick together so the cracked rim could be seen. The part had to be placed where no one needed it until we came along. And that young man’s prayer was answered as part of the whole beautiful tapestry.
It boggles the mind. Yet our God does this type of thing every second of every day. He weaves the lives and destinies of everyone on the planet together like a master weaver. And even though He allows us a choice in some of the decisions along the way, it still works out the way He planned it.
As Job said about God, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”
When time seems to march on while I’m standing still, and I feel myself getting anxious about being left behind, I remember my Father is the Time Weaver. Nothing is impossible for Him.
His purposes will be accomplished. Right on time. No matter what.
Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think!