Thursday, January 16, 2014

Got connections?

One of the most startling things about life is its connections. Nothing takes God by surprise and he delights to show his children that he is in control of his world.

In what ways can you look back to see how God orchestrated meetings with people or connected resources for his purposes and your benefit?

Here are a few our stranger "coincidences" of the past decade:

  • I was praying for a friend who was moving into an isolated house. "Get her a dog," God whispered. "What?!" I found the perfect adult dog that had been abandoned at a breeder's. I chickened out of surprising my friend and told her. She was thrilled and that Saturday we scooped up Beau, her fabulous companion of the next 7 years.
  • Reading my guest books from years gone by, I'm amazed at how many people we don't know. Women came for monthly teas - from the doctor's office, grocery checkout lines, church, and other chance meetings. I saw many of them twice: the first time to invite them and the second time at the tea table.
  • One Wednesday, W read a comparison of two car models. That weekend, a friend deciding on which car to buy asked him if he knew anything about those exact cars. W passed on the information.
  • "Who 'just happens to have' office dividers the right color and size in their garage?" asked a friend. Well, apparently we did. We'd picked some up 2 years before, the perfect backdrop for the university's art shows.
  • In a Seattle shop, I found a Bösendorfer grand piano for a friend's weekend house. When the house sold, the piano lived with us and got a few years of technical upscaling by Steve Brady, our extraordinary piano technician. My brother was looking for "the perfect piano" around the time we were downsizing. It moved to his house in Edmonton in December.
  • One of my academic mentors had most of the supplemental research material I needed, neatly stowed in file cabinets in her garage. She also attended language school in Bandung (like we're planning) and was assigned as the designated missionary with our organization; her husband was listed as "the spouse" (like us.) Her trailblazing model of mission calling and work reassures me.
  • It took 5 years to complete my PhD in Intercultural Studies. I didn't know why I was in the program, except I was sure God had sent it my way. A year after graduation when we were called to missions, two of my classmates were our overseers. Three of the four missionaries we'll work with are alumni, whom I met through my job as NU Alumni Director.
  • I talked to my friends about downsizing and moving into the basement last fall, when it was still heaped with storage. They talked me out of it ... but God moved us down a year later. I gave away something every day in January last year, great preparation for moving into our smaller space. In October last year, I felt I should get certified in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) last fall as well: I resisted. No more classes for me! But I succumbed in February and signed up for summer school - just before our call to missions in March.
    None of these impulses were premeditated. They were God's provision for our future, giving us the will and the means to do his good pleasure.
  • Nearly everything in our basement suite is repurposed. Our bathroom vanity, complete with sink and faucet, was torn out of a home being remodeled = the week before we started to build. Our dining "buffet" was assembled from cabinet "leftovers" of the same house. We purchased our kitchen cabinets from a missions writer and practitioner who encouraged us in our calling. One extra cabinet was perfect for our laundry room.
  • Earlier this week, two teachers and two entrepreneurs visited us at our place. Listening to God provide interchangeable resources for each of them was great fun.
Sometimes being is enough. Then doing emerges naturally - or supernaturally - as a matter of course. The road of obedience seems paved with a thousand blind "yes"es.

Read more:
The Lord said to Abram, "I will bless you and you will be a blessing." Genesis 12:2 NIV

*Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant. Psalm 86:16 ESV

*The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" Luke 17:5 ESV

*Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:14 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Gracious God, you have blessed us in many things. We are grateful, but often we forget that the blessings we receive are not fulfilled in purpose unless they become blessings to others. Give us the devotion to live a life of blessing. 

We pray for the poor, the homeless, those who have had their faith shaken, and those who are afraid and without hope. Cover us all, O Lord, that we may be strengthened. Increase our faith! Amen.

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