- It’s not a biblical picture of God.
- I often have the same thoughts of God, but just in different ways.
Hint: It doesn't come with age or sex because then your dog would qualify
Every morning I pray asking God for opportunities to do ministry. Every day He provides. However, I don’t always see it. Most days, I’m looking for the big things. Not that there’s anything wrong with aiming high, because God is a big God, capable of anything. Sometimes though, I get to fantasizing about having 30 people at my door wanting to be saved and a revival beginning in my office, me tackling a rogue gunman and saving someone’s life, or me saying the most profound words in a staff meeting making all of our leadership beg for more as I quote them scripture.
Notice how all of those things have a selfish slant to them. Yes, I want God to show Himself as great, because He is, but I also want myself to appear just as great. God’s not really in that business. God has His own plans and agenda, and truthfully He’s always working and providing ministry opportunities. I just have to realize that they may not look the way I expect them to look.
That leads me to share a little God story I experienced today. Honestly, it’s God doing big things, but doing them in such ways that can be easily overlooked if we’re focused on self.
I have a young man in my unit who is brand new to the Army. He just graduated basic training in May. He reported for duty at FT Hood a week after graduating and was told that he’d be deploying to Afghanistan in June. He’s so fresh that he has not even earned a piece of rank to wear on his uniform yet. In the Army, these guys are sometimes referred to as “fuzzies”. However, with God’s help, I try not to focus too much on rank. I try to just see each guy or gal as a precious soul of God’s in desperate need of a Savior.
It is evident that God is doing a work in this young man’s life. The first moment I met him he told me that he feels convicted that he needs to make God a bigger priority in his life. He’s a believer, grew up in church, and tries to read scripture faithfully. However, he knows that he has not committed himself lately the way he used to. He’ll be getting married after deployment and he wants to begin his marriage off in step with God’s plan.
From day one of the deployment, it is clear that God has been orchestrating His influence to surround this young man. No doubt, he’s scared, plunged immediately into the unknown and the strain of deployment life. However, it’s obviously God’s plan that this young man be here. As soon as he stepped on the plane to fly to Afghanistan, this young man met another Chaplain, a Chaplain that I know well. I have no doubt that this Chaplain gave him good, Godly, wise counsel. In fact, the young man told me that this Chaplain gave him some devotional material. Already, we’re seeing God at work.
Secondly, after I met this young man, I felt strongly that I needed to be following up with him and being a constant encouragement in his life. In fact, this morning, as I prayed about opportunities, this young man came to mind. My first thought was, “God, what if I can’t find him today? Am I just supposed to wait until he finds me or walk around until I see him?”. Funny how we pray for opportunities and when God begins to reveal part of His plan to us, it blows our minds and we immediately doubt. Maybe this is one of the reasons why God doesn’t give us the complete blueprint or answer key.
Nonetheless, I put the thoughts of ministering to this young man in my mind and decided to be ready for the opportunity.
I didn’t have anyone to eat lunch with today. Most days I’ll find someone to tag along with or someone will ask me to go eat with them. Today was different. It seemed like everyone was busy. But this Chaplain was hungry. I ain’t missin’ lunchtime!
As soon as I walked into the DFAC, who should be in line directly in front of me, but this young man God had brought to my mind during prayer time this morning. I immediately struck up a conversation with him and we exchanged pleasantries as we moved through the line. I had the thought, “it’d be cool if I could just sit and have lunch with this dude one on one and talk more in depth with him about his relationship with God”. However, I figured that’d never happen. Like most young Soldiers, he probably has his band of buddies and I wouldn’t get much out of him with the other guys around.
Suprisingly, as I went to find a seat, I noticed that this young man picked out a table and was sitting all alone. Immediately, I walked over and asked if I could join him. What followed was a 45 minute discussion about this young man’s life, relationship with God, and what he saw in his future. It was ever so clear that God wants to get ahold of this young man’s life and that ministry could very well await in his future.
Well, the story doesn’t end there. As we talked, the young man expressed a desire for Christian fellowship within the unit. He was glad to know me and knew that I’d be a good resource for him. However, he showed desire for more Christian fellowship from among his fellow Soldiers. As he talked, there was one particular Soldier that came to mind. This Soldier would be a perfect battle buddy for this young man. This Soldier that came to mind is probably the most Godly Soldier I’ve met in my unit. He would not only be an encouragement for this young man, but he would be another good spiritual mentor.
Now I just had to figure out how to get these 2 guys to meet. I hadn’t seen this Godly Soldier since Chapel on Sunday. In fact, I had been walking around earlier in the week trying to find this Soldier because I wanted to ask him about helping out with some scripture reading in Chapel. I had no luck in tracking him down. My only hope (or so I thought) was for these guys to meet at Chapel service on Sunday. Little did my puny mind conceive that God was already steps ahead of me.
As soon as this Soldier came to mind, here he came around the corner in the DFAC, with his lunch tray ,and he sat down right behind our table. God is doing business!
I got up, tapped the Soldier on the arm, and immediately introduced him to the young man. The young man was so encouraged by this meeting. I could see his eyes light up. There’s no doubt that he knows God is doing a work in his life.
As I left that divine appointment, I thought that the most beautiful thing about this little story is that it’s not over. I walked away excited about what God is going to do next. My eyes were opened to God’s moving today, and I’m eternally grateful. I’ve already learned that deployment days are long, especially when you feel like you didn’t see God at work. Again, that’s my own doubt creeping through. Even on the dull days, God is working. My job is to be patient, ready, and willing to be whatever instrument He desires for me to be. Pretty cool, huh?