This is an article from the January-February 2000 issue: Short-Term Missions

Sometimes God Works Outside Our Lines

Sometimes God Works Outside Our Lines

I never expected that the Prime Minister would nearly be overthrown in a power struggle, or that the army might take over the government. And being detained by two men and a rifle in tribal territory wasn't in my day planner, and no one told me I would be penniless in one of Asia's larger cities, but one of my biggest surprises during my Internship came over a bowl of chicken soup.

I remember meeting John out of the blue one day when he popped in at the English Institute. "My friend told me about you," he said as his face stretched into one of his mammoth smiles. He was interested in meeting with me sometime. At the moment I wasn't particularly thrilled. John wasn't one of my students, but a fellow English teacher, and therefore not "my focus." Relationships in this part of the world can be extremely time consuming so I wanted to keep my distance. However, John and I began to meet often at the same corner and would end up walking and visiting. He began to share the deeper things in his heart, and we talked about having a solid foundation for our lives. His life hadn't been an easy one. His father had died in another country when John was a child. The heavy responsibility to provide for the family was upon him and his brother.

Now, as we sat facing each other, slurping our chicken soup, he said earnestly, "Last night I was crying in my bed. I have followed Islam all my life, but I am not satisfied. I want to be successful, and I told myself, 'I will talk to David and will follow whatever he says.'" After picking my mouth off the floor I related to him how the Bible serves as our road map for life. Within a week or so, I was meeting with him to study the powerful Word of God. The Holy Spirit continued to work in his life throughout the year, and he was very thankful "to God and to Jesus."

It is amazing to me how God dropped John into my lap. I didn't make him a priority, or even actively pursue meeting him. God brought him to me. How easily I could have missed the opportunity being focused on "reaching out" so far that I might have overlooked what He wanted to place in my hands. From beginning to end, it was the work of the Spirit drawing John and showing him his need. It was very clear Who was in control and how much I needed Him.

Yes, God is faithful and never changes. But that doesn't usually mean that He squeezes Himself into our perspective and agenda. He has bigger things in store.


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