Pastor's Blog

I am very sold on the importance of covenant relationship (as opposed to personal relationship) with God.  I see God’s work as more oriented toward the church as group than I do toward me personally.

However, there are times where things have happened in my life – things that seemed to coincidental to be merely coincidence – and I’ve chalked them up to providence and God’s comforting and affirming hand in my life.

One of the most vivid was when were trying to raise money either to purchase the property on which the present chapel sits or for the building itself (the exact detail escapes me).  But the board had set a goal of raising a certain amount by a target date.

We were a week away from the target date and we were still about $12,500 short, so I announced in church that we needed to raise that amount by the following Sunday if we were to move forward with our development plan.  I was very discouraged as that seemed an astronomical amount to raise in a week.  We had been trying to raise the funds for several months and everyone’s resources seemed to have been exhausted.

There was a visitor there on the Sunday that I announced what we needed to reach the goal the following week.  I knew who he was but didn’t know him very well.  He had shown up periodically at our services over the years.  Never seemed to react to the service or the message.  Always sat there with a seemingly cold, straight face.  Never gave any feedback.  Just sat through the service and left immediately when it was over.  Then I wouldn’t see him again for a few years.

This visitor showed up the following week and caught me in the parking lot before the service.  Stern faced, he handed me a little envelope and said, “I want you to read this after church.”  All I could think of was “Oh great.  What did I say to offend THIS guy last week?”  I put the envelope in my pocket.

We were in double services at the time, so I preached both services.  The special offerings that we received trying to reach the $12,500 didn’t even get close to the target.  I think we took in something like $200.  I remember thinking that we were NEVER going to get out of our tiny building. 

In the days of double services, my wife and children would attend the first service and go home.  So I was alone after the second service.  I was disheartened and discouraged.  I got in the car and remembered that the visitor had given me something to read.  I figured it was criticism of the previous week’s message, and since I was already down, reading a little criticism wouldn’t make it much worse.

So I ripped open the envelope…and inside there was a check for $12,500.

It wasn’t a miracle.  The man had heard the need the previous week.  But it was an amazing providence that this particular man was at that service to hear that announcement and that he had the money and decided to give it to a church which he only visited occasionally.  His demeanor had led me to expect a criticism;  instead I received an enormous blessing and an emotional boost. 

I guess any pastor would have been excited to receive such a gift – but it was the way the entire situation unfolded, the way the circumstances molded my emotions, and the way the gift healed the little wound in my heart that made me sense a providence directed pointedly and personally at me.

I don’t expect that to happen every day.  I don’t need it to happen every day.  Just remembering that providence is enough to remind me that God knows my life and my situation and cares about me – even when I’m not experiencing direct and pointed providential intervention.

 

 

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