I’ve been reflecting lately about how God works, often in very unexpected, mysterious ways. I want to take a moment to share a few experiences I’ve had exemplifying mysterious ways I’ve seen God work.
During my senior year of high school, I was in 4 AP classes. I had pushed myself just to get into the harder classes, but now I felt that I was being pushed beyond my limits. School was tough, I was frustrated, and I was just ready to move on.
One morning in particularly, I had gotten up early to finish homework that I did get finished the night before. Unfortunately, I was just in confused in the morning as I was when I went to bed. I decided to forget about it and head to the high school. Only problem was, I couldn’t find my keys. Fifteen minutes later after I found them under my bed, I was running plenty late.
I was angry and frustrated, and was not looking forward to a long day of school. I unlocked the car, got in, and before I could put the keys in the ignition, the rear view window falls off the windshield. It was inexplicable. It had never happened before. All I could do was laugh! At the situation, at myself, how stupid I was being. Nothing insane happened, but it was a gracious gift I needed, that God provided. What a God we serve.
For those of you who don’t know, this summer I worked for a company called YouthWorks. YouthWorks facilitates short terms missions trips across the country with middle and high school students. I was on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Central Washington with four other YouthWorks staff. My main responsibility was to run a Kids Club program for local children. We all shared our responsibilities though and helped each other with them. One girl on my staff team was with me a kids club everyday and had really become a strong moral and emotional support for me. Unfortunately, after a couple weeks of programming she had to go home to take care of personal issues. We got a replacement staff member the next day, and while I liked her, she didn’t offer the same support the original girl had.
I was frustrated for about a week and a half. Things were going as smoothly on the mission site as they had. I felt unsupported and alone, and I wasn’t sure how I could handle several more weeks of programming.
Thursday night at YouthWorks is a really emotionally and spiritually charged evening. Every week, the staff will wash the adult leaders feet, and the adult leaders will wash their youth feet, just as Jesus washed the disciples feet in John 13. It is a powerful evening from any perspective. Given the emotional environment, my frustration was beginning to come out. I didn’t know what else to do, so I went the lost and found and pulled out a Bible that was forgotten last week. In the Bible, there was one page earmarked, with 2 verses highlighted. It said:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardlywe are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
I searched through that Bible. There were no other pages earmarked, or verses highlighted or underline. There was no other verse that could have been more comforting in that moment, and God placed a Bible in my hands that had it earmarked and highlighted. What a God we serve.
This last example is actually from this week. I have been feeling really distraught because my concept of ministry is changing and I am not sure where God is calling me to work and serve. I am feeling pulled between the suburbs, the city, and the reservation. To top it off, the uncertainty has been playing into a number of my insecurities, which has really got me down.
I was eating dinner one night with a friend who had always been going through a rough patch as well. We had been sharing what was on our minds and neither of us really had a good response for the other. We decided to drown our sorrows in coffee and ice cream like any good college student. As I walking to get coffee, a song popped into my head; it could not have been more random. Two summers ago, I worked a Kids Club at my home church. Every day we had a bible study as we worked our way through the Fruit of the Spirit. One week, we taught our kids a song to Philippians 4:6-7, which says
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The song to this verse could not have been a more random song to get stuck in my head, let alone in that moment. But it was exactly what I needed to hear, and exactly what my friend needed to hear. I can’t explain how a random song I taught to kids two summer ago would come into my head at that very moment apart from the supernatural. The peace of God will guard you heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. What a God we serve.
Friends, if you are in a season of change, doubt, or frustration, I can’t make any promises. But I know from experience that God can work through pain in the most mysterious ways.