Thursday, December 8, 2011

PROVIDENCE, or mere coincidence?

(I.M.O., there's no such thing as luck)
Consider these words of wisdom from Pastor Stephen Davey.
"The timing of a letter; a phone call; a conversation; something that happened; something that worked and something that did not; some interruption – these are God’s hands at work".
Okay, here's another testimony I just have to share.  I made a phone yesterday to an old friend from another State that I haven't seen nor heard from in over 21 years.  I received a call back from him a few hours later, it "just so happens" he's going to be staying in my State, and my City tonight, and we're going to (Lord willing) get together, have dinner and "fellowship" with each other tonight.  Big Deal?  Maybe not to you, but it is to me, and I'm praising God for His Divine Providence even in the little details of our lives.  I have tried unsuccessfully for years to find contact info. on him, and have prayed for the LORD to help me reach him at least once to tell him what an inspiration he was, and how much his friendship meant to me.  "As luck would have it", after years of periodically searching for it, I found a phone number for him yesterday (wait-there's no such thing as luck-must be Providence).  If interested in the details, you're invited to read on...
That's a summary of God's Providential working out the details in this instance , but here's a little background our friendship.

About 21 to 25 years ago, give or take a few,  before God "Providentially" led me (as He always does, we often just can't see it except in hindsight) in a different career path through my wife's encouragement to go to college while she taught school, I drove an 18-wheeler (i.e., I was a commercial truck-driver) for a living.  I traveled across many Southern States delivering groceries here in the U.S.A., and met many people during that time.  One man stood out among the rest.  His name was Gary K..

"Brother Gary", as we called him, was one of the first people we would see as we rolled up to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store out in "Small Town",  U.S.A..  Bro. Gary always had a smile on his face, and was always extra friendly.  At most of our stops, the store personnel would not help us unload the truck, saying it was "our responsibility", but Gary would.  He'd get up in the truck and help us unload that 45,000 pound load of freight, kidding with us, picking with us, and having fun all the while.  From day one, I knew he was different.  

Turns out, Gary was a bi-vocational Baptist Pastor/Preacher, married with children, working at the Piggly Wiggly during the week to provide for his family.  His small town Baptist Church where he pastored, obviously couldn't fully support him financially, thus he "worked with his hands", and fulfilled Paul's Words to the Thessalonians:
1Thessalonians 4:11-12  ...and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. 
In fact, I have used Bro. Gary's life as a modern day example modeling Paul's "tent-making", which is how Paul met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth.
I remember more than once after unloading the truck, Bro Gary asking me "what ya gonna do for lunch?"  Sometimes I was on a tight schedule and had to roll on out, but one time I accepted, and he called his wife, told her to put on a "pone of cornbread, and warm up the soup", because I'm bringing a truck-driver home for lunch.  That meal at his house had such an impact on me as a young Christian, as they modeled the believers in the Book of Acts.  What hospitality and Christian love!
Acts 2:46 (ESV) ...and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts
Well, this post is getting to long, and I realize that "too long" may lose readers' interest, so just a few more sentences and I'm through.   One more thing that really stood out about Bro. Gary was his enthusiasm about preaching and teaching his congregation at his Church.  As we were unloading that load of freight one Wednesday afternoon, dripping with sweat, he was sharing with me some details about his current series on the Book of Revelation.  He was so excited that it was Wednesday, and he had the privilege of preaching and teaching God's Word to God's people that evening (after he went home to wash-up, eat, and get to the church).  Now I realize that full-time salaried preachers have a heavy load on them preparing and preaching 2 or 3 sermons a week (some more, some less), along with their other responsibilities involving administration, hospital visitations, funerals, etc.,   but Bro. Gary also had those duties at church, and never complained about being overloaded.  He had a joy and a passion for Jesus, his flock, and his ministry that I'll never forget.
2 Timothy 4:2  preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season
Today's post was primarily for me, writing it down while fresh in my memory, as another reminder of how God works "behind the scenes" in our daily lives.  I just had to share how the LORD showed me yet another undeniable, clear act of Providence and answered prayer yesterday.
THAT'S ALL FOR NOW.  I may add more details about our evening of fellowship later, will have to wait and see!

I love to talk and write about the "Providence of God", which is a very awesome and yet comforting teaching of Scripture.  Here's a few links to some (not all) past blogs on the subject.

This one is about Providence in the lives of two "Josephs", in Genesis, and Matthew, as well as in the lives of my family today.
click >  Detoured? Discouraged? God is still Sovereign, and we can trust Him!!

This one quotes the "Prince of Preachers", Charles Spurgeon. 
click >  Just How Sovereign is God? Spurgeon comments.

Here's another one from a few months back.
click >  Luck? Coincidence? Chance?....or PROVIDENCE

And of course, quotes from John Flavel (1627–1691), an English Presbyterian clergyman
click > John Flavel quotes on Providence

As mentioned above, I may add more details later, maybe in the comments on this post, or possibly a new one.

If you'd like to comment, I'd love to hear stories of God's Providence in your life!  If not able to sign in, you can select "anonymous", and put your info. into the comment itself.  Blessings!
“Sometimes Providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards.” 

John Flavel (1627–1691)