I have always enjoyed a certain comfort that comes from a “black and white” understanding of the world. I never bought into the idea of alien worlds, or hauntings and really doubt that we are going to have a Zombie Apocalypse (though I do love all the creative new weapons that are hitting the market). Sometimes I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge when he is visited by Jacob Marley. Marley asks him, “what evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?” Scrooge’s response makes sense, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” I too prefer plausible possibilities to the unexplained.
Yet, with each passing year I find I must embrace the unexplained more and more. There are forces at work in the world, that no matter how I try to explain them have but one explanation – God is working in ways I don’t understand. For most of my life this bothered me. I have a pretty clearly defined theology and sometimes I just couldn’t reconcile the events of life with what I believe. I cautioned others about “emotional experiences” and how misleading it can be to embrace things we don’t understand. While there still may be some semblance of truth in that, there is also value in embracing the unexplained.
Allow me to explain. For years I threw the term “providence of God” around pretty loosely. When something would happen, or I would look back and see how “all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28) in my life, that was the providence of God. Now I believe in the providence of God, but more often than not it provided me an out. It allowed me to say – God is working from the sidelines, rather than believing that God stepped in when I needed Him most.
This week I had just such a situation. I had been struggling internally with a lot of deep, personal challenges – feeling some of the pressure of life closing in on me, when out of blue an old friend calls to check on me. Now that might be considered “providential” except for a couple of things that happened:
- He wasn’t just checking in – his wife had been praying (she is quite the prayer warrior) and my name was laid on her heart and life. She asked her husband to call and check on me to see if I needed anything.
- Perfect timing – Ron took some time on Friday to pray with me and encourage me.
How do I explain all this? Coincidence? Providence? I don’t know. What I do know is God sent a friend into my life at the perfect time. I don’t know how or why, but I am feeling far more comfortable embracing the unexplained. I don’t really need an explanation – I just need to learn to be thankful that God is alive, and active, and working in our lives.