God Always Has a Plan
For the past few weeks our home group has been talking about how to share the love of Jesus with others. Our latest assignment was to look for a need and then commit to filling that need. Last Friday evening my wife and I were headed to downtown Portland, so I thought that finding a need was going to be a piece of cake. We were planning to go to Powell’s bookstore where there are always some people sitting just outside the front doors asking for spare change. I parked the car and made sure I had a couple of dollars in my pocket ready to hand out. As we approached Powell’s I noticed that nobody was sitting by the door. “Oh well”, I thought, “I’ll just catch them on the way out.” After spending about an hour and a half browsing at the books we decided to leave. Again, there were no people outside. I even glanced down the sidewalks hoping to find someone that would be happy to take some change off my hands. To my chagrin I saw no one. I tried to console myself by thinking that I would simply give money to the people who would be waiting at the free entrance. Again, I saw no one. “What’s up with the homeless people tonight?” I muttered to myself.
But that is not the end of the story…
On Saturday morning my wife and I had appointments in two different locations. Since I was going to travel further I planned to take our economy car. It wouldn’t start. My wife applied her makeup while I drove to her appointment. Then I took the gas guzzling Suburban to my appointment. When we got back home I tried starting the car again. It fired right up!
In the afternoon we were going to a birthday party. We took the Suburban just in case the car decided to act up again. By this time I had forgotten all about filling a need since I assumed that I had missed my opportunity.
Near the end of the party, Brion, the birthday boy (at 48), announced that he and his kids had missed their bus. Now they were stuck far from home with their bikes. What to do? For a second I thought about the back-to-back appointments we had lined up for the rest of the day. Then it hit me: this was a need that we could fill! The Beast (what we call our Suburban) likely had plenty of room. I offered to try to pack the bikes in and take Brion’s family home. We left with four bikes and four cramped people in the back.
God had given us an opportunity to serve. It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t smooth, but we filled a need and helped some people.
I learned several things that day:
- God is in control. Just when we think we have things all figured out and put God in a neatly-wrapped box, he steps in with his own plan. There were no homeless people for me to serve on Friday, but God showed me that he always has a plan. Sometimes it is much more tangible than giving my measly pocket change to someone.
- There is no such thing as coincidence. Was it a coincidence that I did not see any homeless people in Portland for the first time ever? Was it a coincidence that our car would not start, forcing us to use our Suburban that could transport bikes and people all at once? Everything happens for a reason if we only trust God.
- God is always at work. I had forgotten all about looking for a need to fill after not seeing anyone to serve on Friday. But God didn’t. And I think he was reminding me that I need to continually have my eyes open for ways to share his love with others.
How have you tried to limit God’s intervention in your life?
How has God used circumstances in your life for his glory?