Have you ever been at the mall or grocery store and happened to run into an old friend? Have you met someone new and discovered after talking briefly that the two of you have so much in common that you sense a connection almost immediately? Have you picked up the phone and discovered the person you had been thinking about calling was on the other end and your first thought was “What a coincidence!”?
If we are to accept God’s Word as Truth, we will discover over and over that there just isn’t any such thing as coincidence when it comes to a God who is sovereign. In this passage in Acts, Paul’s speech to the men of Athens emphasizes this.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:24-26)
If He has determined periods, boundaries and dwelling places, then, I think it’s pretty safe to say that He has determined that you should live at this time in the neighborhood in which you find yourself alongside the people living in and around your home that He has ordained to be there!
Have you ever found yourself dreaming of the future and saying, “One day, I’d like to…” But, what about today? When was the last time you asked yourself what He is calling you to do – today?
Over ten years ago, I found myself asking these very same questions. My husband was asked to move an entire company to a more central location of the country. It was a good time to be transitioning, for our children were graduating and transitioning as well. So we packed everything we could and headed south. John had more than enough to do to fill his days, but I had virtually left everything in my life, except my husband, back home: children, job, ministry, family, friends, everything. I walked around our new home wondering just what my purpose was here!
We quickly learned that our neighbors were expecting their first child after trying for years and she was bedridden trying to hang onto this child. Mike was bringing home pizzas every night for dinner, so I decided to cook for four and divide our dinner and share it with them. Each day, for several months, I’d call to let them know what we were having and what time Mike could stop by to pick it up. Then one day, I called and left a message, but Mike never came. I had no other way to reach them and no idea what had happened until about six weeks later when there was a knock on the door and Mike was returning all my dishes. He explained that Staci had to have an emergency C-section at about six months along and little Vicki was born weighing two pounds, two ounces! She was strong and beautiful and I was elated, until he added that she had only lived two days. Little Vicki’s lungs weren’t fully developed and she couldn’t hang on. My heart sank. Mike went on to tell me all that had happened as the sun began to set and darkness began to envelope us. He then ended by saying that Staci could never take a chance on having another child for it would definitely kill her.
What do you say to someone so devastated who desperately wanted to make things better for his wife and didn’t know how? He had not been attending any church, so I told him I believed he was standing at a crossroad. This would either draw him to God or further away and the choice was up to him. He agreed, but he still needed to think on things so I ended our time assuring him we’d be praying for them.
A few weeks later Mike stopped me just as I was heading in the door and asked if John and I would start a Bible study in our home. Despite John feeling there weren’t enough hours in his day to accomplish all he had to do at work, we agreed. What God did next is enough material for a book. But, let me just say that we began with four couples from our neighborhood and rapidly grew until we couldn’t fit anymore folding chairs in our home! A ladies study also began as did a number of other service and fellowship activities throughout the year! It was an amazing time, and God knit the hearts in this neighborhood together.
I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that time for anything in this world! What began with a few meals, blessed countless lives and culminated a few years ago when we learned that the owner of the company John had moved here decided to sell and retire leaving John without a job, and wondering what was in our future. That same week, we attended Mike’s ordination as a deacon in his church. As he stood up, he addressed the congregation by saying, “It all began when this Yankee moved south and walked across my lawn to introduce himself…” We looked at one another and smiled knowing we didn’t know the future, but we did know the One who did.
“For such a time as this…” I’d like to encourage you to look around you with divine eyes to see the hearts and needs right there before you and to seek His help in meeting them. He is able. I pray that you, too, will one day be amazed at all He does in and through you!
‘Til next time,