one of my favorite movies in the entire world is serendipity. in fact, i’m listening to “moonlight kiss” by bap kennedy while i type this, a song from the soundtrack. basically, the entire premise of the movie is written about two people who meet, by chance, in new york city and try to find one another years later, sure that they are destined and fated to be together.
now, i don’t know a lot about destiny. and i don’t even know that i can say if people are destined to be together, or to have one soulmate…but that’s neither here nor there. what i can say is that this movie reminds me of providence.
providence is one of my favorite words, and it’s so sad that it’s been twisted and contorted in our time. preachers want to make people believe that, if they are faithful to the Lord, the Lord will providentially bless them financially and materially, and that their lives will be comfortable and safe.
but…that’s not really what providence means. the beauty of Romans 8:28 is that even in the midst of suffering and hardship and persecution, we can know that God works all these things together for the good of those who love him and are called to him. and namely, this good is the gospel.
we’re called to suffer, and to carry our cross. life isn’t supposed to be easy or carefree, and we don’t have all the answers. yet there’s something terribly reassuring about the notion that God
- has all things in his hands and they are subservient to him–he is in control
- has our ultimate best interest at heart, in whatever trials and tribulations we suffer
- knows that our ultimate best interest, as followers of Christ, is that the gospel be made known and proclaimed, EVEN in our sufferings and difficulties
how many times in my life have i questioned God’s authority or “reasoning” (haha!) for putting me through certain circumstances? and yet it’s when i look back and begin to connect the pieces that i see those situations helping me clarify two things. first, in those situations i experience tremendous grace and relief in knowing that i don’t have to have it all together, that i’m not alone, and that even greater–Jesus accomplished so much more for myself and for my sins than i could ever hope to endeavor. along with this, when i struggle, i have the opportunity to be transparent and allow others to see grace at work in my life, even in the midst of hard times. and in my struggles, i always clearly find myself in awe and recognition that God is still God over my life, regardless of the circumstances.
this week, i’ve been thinking about how God works in mysterious and beautiful ways. almost six years ago, i left home–and it was hard, and i was miserable. i went to college, and i was terribly lonely. (i love the phrase “terribly lonely” or “terribly anything” for that matter, because it sounds so british and proper). all of my plans fell apart. and then God led me to 819 Main Street, and in a crazy, turn-my-life-upside-down kind of year, i found friends and ministry and a calling and a passion.
the four years i spent at bcm were no doubt the most formative four years of my life. and they weren’t always easy. transition and ministry and working with people and the loneliness of leading can be hard–but they were so rewarding. because of the pain i suffered in that first year of college, i was able to share the story of God’s mercy and grace with so many, and be a part of making the gospel known.
what’s more, my sophomore year of college we interviewed this couple from chesnee and cowpens, south carolina, graduates of a divinity school i’d never even heard of…and they came on staff.
four years later, i live in birmingham, and i’m finishing up my second year at that amazing, little divinity school i’d never even heard of, and i get to worship with this family, and live life with them, and prepare for what’s next, after seminary, while getting to see the gospel proclaimed in birmingham and in our church and see how God uses the gospel to work in our hearts and lives, for change and molding and making us like His Son.
maybe some things are left to chance, but i haven’t seen evidence of that in my life. instead, Someone Greater is directing, and leading, and weaving together all things for His good–which, in the end, is also my good, and for the proclamation of the gospel.
i’m beyond blessed and thankful.