Isn’t it amazing the way God works in our lives? Each day is an opportunity for us to step back and look for God’s fingerprints in our lives. So many things that we are quick to chalk up as coincidence or blind luck could actually be God’s Spirit moving through our lives. And if we are able to acknowledge it as such, are lives and our faith are made richer because of it.
The first time I did this with any depth was at the end of seminary. For our last class, we had to write a 30-page paper on our theology of ministry, including some autobiographical reflections on how we got to where we were. As a journalist and communications major, the writing part didn’t scare me. But I wasn’t prepared for what I discovered as I reflected.
I had never really stopped to trace the patterns in my life that had led me into ministry. I knew I felt a call and was compelled to answer it, but in my short-sightedness I assumed that was the first time God had guided my life to bring me to that decision. I assumed my forays into journalism and communication were false starts, failed attempts and finding my purpose before God chose to reveal it to me.
But when I reflected back on my life, I realized that God hadn’t just shown up at the right time to place this call in my heart; God had been there the whole time, working through my decisions (or in spite of them) to bring about God’s plan for me. The two areas I assumed were false starts – journalism and communication – are skills I use every single day in ministry. Had I not been trained in those areas, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been as prepared for ministry.
In addition, as I wrote that paper I realized God was not only working through my career choices, but was working in my heart, as well. Had this call to ministry come any earlier than it did, I wouldn’t have heard it. But through my experiences in church and in school, God was tilling the soil of my soul, just waiting for the right moment to plant the seed. I remembering crying as I wrote this part of my paper because of these realizations. God was at work. God was always at work.
I had another less significant but just as amazing reminder of God’s presence recently. I had an email a few weeks ago from a friend of mine in Memphis whose fraternity brother Jason had just moved to Lexington. My friend suggested the two of us should get together, since Jason was also in the ministry. We met for coffee last Tuesday.
Jason, his wife and their six children had just moved back after living in Australia for eight years. Jason is a church planter and has been called to a new church start team in Lexington. Jason and his team are starting a non-denominational church that will focus on college students but will hopefully grow to encompass a diverse group of people committed to making a difference in Lexington in Christ’s name.
As we talked, I was struck by Jason’s passion for this kind of work. I couldn’t imagine the work and faith it takes to start a new church, and yet Jason seemed to have this call stitched into his DNA. We both shared the struggles and joys of our respective ministries. After we prayed for each other, I asked him if there’s any way Crestwood could help him and his team as they get started.
As it turns out, they need a place to meet. And wouldn’t you know it, we happen to have a little space! So starting this Sunday, the City Life Church will begin using a couple classrooms in the Mission Center on Sunday to prepare for the launching of their church. Jason was incredibly grateful that Crestwood would allow them to use this space. But we are simply stewards of this space God has given us, and it is a blessing to be able to share it for the spreading of God’s word.
Now, someone may say that the connection between Jason and I was purely a coincidence. But was it? I see something else at work here. Thanks be to God.