“You were running a good race. You were obeying the truth. Who persuaded you to stop?” Gal 5:7 (Simple English Bible)
Don had several different job in the church. He was a handyman, sang in the choir, helped with the youth programs and occasionally, taught a class and hosted the Sunday communion service. He was friendly, had a good word for everyone and never skipped a service. Don seemed enjoy the busy and varied schedule he had.
That was until a relative newcomer, John, took over the handyman duties. John’s schedule was a little loose and sometimes, things didn’t get the attention they should have. Don had stepped away and let John handle things on his own but became annoyed when he noticed that chores hadn’t been done. One of the elders brought the two men together and sat down to clear the air. It was then that Don heard that John was under chemotherapy and couldn’t always be on hand to do the work. He apologized and the two worked closely together from then on.
Appearances can be deceiving. We can make judgments that are entirely incorrect, based upon what we think happened. But the Lord’s work still must continue and we have our work set out for us. God opens the doors and we follow His lead.
“As a kid, I kept one eye open in bed just in case my stuffed animal came to life.” Anon
What is it about surprises? Some people just don’t like them even if it is innocent and meant to be a compliment. There are people who want their lives in an orderly and controllable fashion. No fast curves, bumps in the night or horror movie screams. They want a plain vanilla day-to-day so they can plan ahead and make the best use of the time and resources.
Bro Gerald was like that. A simple man on a walk near the beach with his dog. It was a daily habit. Even Rusty, the dog, knew the exact time Gerald would fetch the leash and call. This was the routine for years until one evening, Gerald met Kathy and was stopped for a chat. Kathy was a Christian and a widow. Every few days, they’d meet and sit on a bench. Gerald was surprised by his own need to hear the gospel and one day, he knew that this was the life he wanted.
As much as we try to control the events and people around us, the illusion of self-control becomes evident, especially on Bad Hair Days, when everything goes wrong. Sometimes, we need a surprise. Sometimes, God needs to keep us on our toes. And just sometimes, we need to understand that it is His will that must be done.
“Try to live a quiet life. Mind your own business. Work with your own hands as we told you. Then outsiders will respect the way you live. You will not be dependent upon anyone.” I Thess 4:11-12 (Simple English Bible)
John was becoming more and more intolerant of their new next door neighbors. Angela and Rick, a young live-together couple, had parties every Friday night and sometimes on Saturdays, too. John had complained many times about the loud music, drinking and carousing. Rick was incensed when the police were called a few times to quell the disturbances. John’s wife, Patty, said there was a much better way to appeal to their neighbors.
She invited Angela for coffee and cake. The two women talked about family, jobs and the future. John wasn’t convinced that it would do any good. But within a few months, Angela started coming with John and Patty to their church and a short time afterwards, the young woman accepted Christ as her Savior. The wild parties became more and more infrequent, then stopped. Rick came with Angela and also gave his heart to Christ. They were married within the year.
It’s easier to complain than to make an effort. Sometimes, we will be faced with situations that seem out of control and highly toxic to our lifestyle. But perhaps these situations are put in our way so that we will respond with the power and love of Christ. It gives us the opportunity to show our true mettle and dedication to our Lord.