The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.(Prov. 16:9)
The events we plan are often not the real event at all. God's work takes place in ways we could never have forseen. After the dust settles, what remains is what God intended, not necessarily what we had set out to do. The event itself ends up as a "side show" for the main attraction God has in mind.
|Israel Baptist Church Choir performance of "Libertado"|
On Saturday night we arrived at the rented hall--the largest venue available in town for what was supposed to be our big city-wide performance. After getting the electricity turned on, props, and sound check, instead of the hundreds of people that we expected there were less than a dozen present for the start of our musical presentation. I was disappointed to say the least. Did God not hear all the prayer, or honor all the work and effort into pulling this thing off? All that and for what? Less than a dozen people?
We went ahead and performed the program just like we had rehearsed over the past months. The choir outnumbered the audience four to one! At the end of the presentation, an invitation was made for people to make a public decision for Christ. I wasn't surprised when no one came forward. All I wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible and forget the whole disaster. How embarrasing!
As we packed to leave, two women approached and seemed to want to talk. I was in a bad mood and pretty ticked about the whole deal, so I turned them over to Chilean missionary Juan Lara while I went on with the business of packing up and getting everyone back on the bus to the hotel.
It wasn't until later that I again talked to Juan. What those women shared is that for YEARS they had been praying for someone to come to Esmeraldas to share the Gospel. Their "dream" was that God would somehow plant a church in their city. They were overjoyed that God had answered their prayers that evening and were looking forward to working with Juan to start the new church.
To make a long story short, a church was indeed planted, the "Nuevo Amanecer" (New Dawn) Baptist Church. Today it is one of the strongest churches in Esmeraldas impacting not only the city, but the entire province.
Oswald Chambers put it well when he said, "God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say God intends me to be here because I am so useful...God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and are no judge at all of where that is.”
In your own life and ministry, have you seen instances where the event is not the event?