“Things tend to show up when you need them,” wrote Michael Hyatt, author and motivational speaker. Some people call these “things” co-incidences, others call them serendipities. Others think an amorphous “Universe” opens up to give us what we need. But in reality they are God’s providences or miracles, all done in Divine Timing.
The Search for Oswald Chambers
|Oswald Chambers 1874-1917|
But where could he find anyone still living who knew Chambers? Someone who could flesh out historical details? Kathleen, Chambers’ only daughter, was four years old when her father died, and she had few memories of him. But she did casually mention a 92-year old woman living in Santa Barbara, California, who had known her father. By Divine intersections, McCasland and his wife had already booked a flight to visit their daughter in Santa Barbara.
In a two-hour interview, this woman welcomed McCasland’s enquiries and, brimming with enthusiasm, recounted many vivid memories.
* * *
God leading me to this information was in itself a Divine miracle with Divine timing. While mulling over ideas for this month’s topic, I remembered reading how God directed McCasland. However, I read the article a number of years ago and had no idea how to trace it.
A few weeks ago while sorting through my old magazines, I found it! The Christianity Today magazine from 1993 was still opened to the article.[ii] I was surprised, as I don’t usually keep magazines that date this far back. Its vividness had left such an impression on me that I hadn’t thrown it out or passed it along to another person.
God’s Providence in Daily Life
The above stories illustrate how God, through the Holy Spirit, providentially leads us. I have so many examples from my own life that I could write a book. However, for this blog I will mention two.
He opens up words of life when I’m in need. Often when working through a personal issue, the Sunday sermon or my daily Bible/devotional reading pinpoints the exact principle I need. Or scripture comes to mind. At other times, I visualize a book on my library shelves. As I browse through its Table of Contents, a chapter heading stands out. As I read that chapter, God gives me the answer to my question.
He helps in writing. Last winter while writing the story of how my young nephews helped me decorate my Christmas tree, I knew the story was weak. During this time, I was sorting through binders of unfinished articles. The first article I came to was a forgotten draft of the same experience! This version had a ring of authenticity and tenderness I hadn’t captured in my current writing. Integrating the two concepts into a holistic story, I thanked God for His providence. (That story, “A Place of Refreshing,” is included in InScribe’s upcoming Christmas anthology.)
Coincidences? Serendipity? “The universe?” No! God is at work in our relationship with Him.
Writing this blog has taught me a lot about God, who is both omnipotent and personal. He knows all things, even knowing when a sparrow falls or how many hairs we have (Matthew 10:29-30). At the same time He is deeply personal. Knowing our most intimate selves, He gives us His Divine help and answers, often with amazing timing. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear,” the prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 65:24 NIV).
How do we respond to God’ providence in our lives? The prophet Daniel gave me some clues.
This morning I read how God revealed King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel. Daniel acknowledged this insight came from God, and poured out worship and gratitude: “(God) reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:22, NIV).
And now over to you. How have you seen God’s strategic providences in your life? What impact have they had for your faith and writing?