Thursday, February 5, 2015

What happens along the way

At the time, three of our girls were in elementary school.  Before school was out for the day, I needed to take our pre-school daughter to a gym class and simultaneously prepare for a neighborhood Bible study that I would teach the next morning.  I could do this.  I just needed to stay focused and take my Bible and notes with me to the gym.  Forty-five minutes, and I'd have it done. Classic multi-tasking.

But God had other things on my schedule.

I took a place on the bleachers.  My Bible was open, and I began taking notes.  I looked up every once in a while to cheer for our three year old.  And I noticed a very pregnant woman slowly jogging around the outskirts of the gym floor.

A few minutes later, she stopped.  When I looked up next, she was climbing up the bleachers to where I sat.

"I noticed your Bible," she said.

For the remainder of the gym session, we talked about her own spiritual journey.  I told her about our Bible study, a cobbled-together group of neighborhood women in many seasons in life. She was so thirsty for that kind of fellowship.

She joined us the next morning and continued studying God's Word with us for the remainder of the school year.

I am no longer surprised by the appointments God weaves into our every days, the divine encounters that God places on our paths in sometimes the most unusual places.

Modern dictionaries define the word "available" as "not otherwise occupied, free to do something," as if those who are available simply don't have anything better to do.

But the root word for available means "to be of value."  So when God places someone on our path, or on our radar, or impresses something upon our heart, being available is serving a God-ordained purpose.

It doesn't just happen.  It is not a matter of laying my day before the LORD, but to go into His day for me with my eyes, hands and heart wide open.  His day has no interruptions, just divine appointments.  God does not maneuver around the big rocks in my schedule, He redeems them, and when necessary, moves those mountains for His purposes.

Whenever and wherever Jesus was headed, He was aware of people on His path.  He always stopped to speak to others.  No matter who they were or what was the need, Jesus always responded.  Some needs were visibly evident, some verbalized, some not so obvious, but very real:  a funeral procession, the blind men, the lepers, the woman who pushed through an impossible crowd to touch even the hem of His robe, the woman at the well.  Notice in the gospels, the profound ministry of Jesus while He was on His way to somewhere else.

Jesus was not pressed for time.  He fulfilled it.  He was always available.

The most significant thing I do today
may not be what I check off my agenda,
     but being available
               to His purposes.

When a friend of ours is asked what kind of ministry he is involved in, he replies with a smile, "Being available."

Many are the plans
   in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD
   that will be established.

                    Proverbs 19.21

Make your plans,
but don't miss out
       on what God has appointed
       along the way.

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