It was September 18, 2010. My wife and I had traveled from our home in central Arkansas to middle Tennessee, for a weekend of ministry. We had been invited back to the congregation we had served for 10 years, as they were dedicating a new facility to serve their community. As I prepared the message I would share that Sunday morning, I had no idea how the truth God showed me would be a test of my own trust in His sovereignty.
The dedication message on that Sunday would come from Joshua 4:1-11. It was a challenge and encouragement to stack the stones of life that represent how God has worked in us, so that they offer a memorial/testimony of praise to His glory. I encouraged the people to glorify God because He is faithful, honor Him as the Great Provider, and to glorify Him for the sake of future generations.
...“Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
God has a knack of bringing the truth of His Word into the reality of our daily lives in ways we might not expect. Saturday night, prior to my sermon presentation, the process began to do just that. I would have the opportunity to have my trust in God's sovereignty tested and tried and proven. That evening I received a call from a pastor of one or our churches in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. As the call unfolded, I learned of the tragic accident that resulted in the death of one of their high school students in the church and school. The loss of this young man was having a ripple effect among the students and the community. They needed someone to come and provide crisis/grief counseling to their students and families. He asked if I would come and help.
Take Charge and Get Things Planned
Time was of the essence. The students, staff and families needed support and counseling as soon as possible. There was no time to waste, so we went to work trying to plan the logistics of getting me to St. Croix and getting my wife back home. I had to re-pack and arrange my flight out of Little Rock, once I returned home on Monday. It was a 7-hour drive back to our home, the best I could do was to arrive on the island on late Tuesday evening. This was at least 24 hours too long. But, what could we do? How could we make it work? We were working as hard as we could to come up with a plan. Nothing seemed to work to make the timetable meet the need. Our best efforts were coming up short.
Life is like that sometimes...we think we have it figured out, or we give our best effort to make things work out as needed. Our best efforts sometimes fall short. But, when we trust God's sovereignty, things come together in ways we can't imagine. That's because He isn't limited by the same things that limit us.
God Already Has It Worked Out
As we were developing the plan, it was in a conversation with the travel agent with whom we were working that it suddenly occurred to us...we were thinking about this all wrong. The agent pointed out to us that we were already in an ideal location to make the timetable work perfectly. Flying out of Nashville provided a flight schedule that was perfect for our needs. So, I booked my flight for 6:00 am on Monday morning, heading to St. Croix. My wife booked her flight to Little Rock for 6:30 am. Our vehicle was left at the airport for me to drive home upon my return. Friends picked her up at the airport to get her home. I was on the ground on Monday afternoon in St. Croix, at 2:45 pm...over 24 hours earlier than we could have made possible with our original plans. What about my clothes (I had only packed for a two-day trip)? The ministry in St. Croix purchased clothes for me to wear during the week I was there. You see, God already had me in the ideal location at the ideal time to make it possible to go and minister to the needs of hurting people. God's sovereignty is perfect as He goes before us to prepare the way...His faithfulness is sure, His provision is enough and His timing is perfect.
Does God Need Our Help?
I was reminded that week, that God is always at work to accomplish His plan. He isn't surprised by the unexpected circumstances of our lives. I've found that there is tremendous comfort in the reality that God is already present in the moments we have yet to experience. He is already there to be present with us when we arrive. That means He already has it under control. He is already there with the resources we need to be sustained and equipped for the moment.
The next time we face those unexpected challenges...the struggles or opportunities that life presents...let's lean into His sovereignty and trust His goodness. He doesn't need us to help Him out. He just wants us to look for His hand at work...and find peace. That is how we know we are living a life of purpose.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
How have you experienced the sovereign hand of God...working in your circumstances? Are you in a place right now that you need to trust the guidance of God's Spirit? Share your thoughts and experiences to encourage or be encouraged. We would appreciate if you would like and share the post as well.
With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!