Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cooperating With God's Work In You

My friend Kevin attends a Catholic church. He told me that last week his church did not provide the normal children’s classes because they were having a special mass. That meant that Kevin’s four-year old son sat during the entire service between Kevin and his wife.

The mass was about an hour and a half long. Kevin said that his four-year old son had been great for about an hour and fifteen minutes of the mass and then he started to get tired and restless. At the one hour and twenty minute mark, the four-year old looks up to the front where the priest in his robes has his hands up in the air saying something and the little boy says with a stage whisper sigh, “What is God doing up there?”

How many times have we felt like that tired little boy. Life’s tedious, mundane, and somewhat obscure circumstances take place and sometimes we sigh, “What is God doing up there?”

Tuesday I was traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico to visit my son. I had a 6:00 a.m. departure so I left my house at 4:00 a.m. I was seeking my boarding pass when I was told that my flight had been canceled. The woman pointed to a long line about 30 yards away and instructed me to go to the end of it so that I could be re-ticketed. I literally waited in line for an hour and a half. Got my ticket and proceeded toward my gate. There were three lines screening people and, you guessed it, I chose the slowest line. Literally the other two lines screened three times the number of people as my line.

I had to make a connection in Denver and when I landed I had 10 minutes to get to the next gate. After racing down the concourse to my gate I found out that they had changed gates. I ran to the new gate and discovered that my flight had been delayed an hour. When I finally landed in New Mexico I discovered that my luggage didn’t make the flight.

What is God doing up there? I’ve been working hard for several months. I finally get a couple of days off to rest and visit with my son and nothing goes right the entire day! And yet, with every inconvenience I had a strange sense of God’s presence. It was as if God was saying to me, “I know that you’re tired and that you would like everything to go smooth and easy. I’m giving you grace to be patient and kind when it is beyond your natural capacity.”

So, I tried to cooperate with that sense of God’s movement in and around me. And, the more I chose to respond with patience, the more His grace came upon me. I hadn’t done anything wrong and yet everything around me wasn’t right.

How’s it going for you? When you make bad choices you kind of expect that bad outcomes will happen. But when you make good choices a sense of fairness says that circumstances ought to happen well. When they don’t, I believe God is often at work to develop character qualities and life capacities in us that are beyond our natural ability.

At that point, what God is doing is forming Christ in us.

1 comment:

CMR said...

Thank You for sharing, that was an encouraging message.