“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ ” Acts 17:26-28
Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that He came into the world to testify to the truth. I believe that; particularly the truth part. If as Christian’s we all believed this, we would without equivocation stand by every single word of the Bible. In view of this passage from the Gospel of John, we’ve no other option:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1 & 14
I say that to say ‘in Christ’ there aren’t any coincidences. How can a Christian believe otherwise? The declaration in Acts 17 is clear: God made us and He has determined our preappointed times. That’s a far-reaching pronouncement and from it we may deduce that our encounters are orchestrated by God.
The question is, “Do you believe it?”
Either God’s hand is in each situation or it is not. Either God has a plan for each encounter or He does not. Either in Him we live and move and have our being or we do not. It truly is this plain.
I’ve opted for the former over the latter–that every appointment is divine and that God has a specific and unique outcome in mind for each one. The embracement of the tenet is changing my life.
Initially, I was overwhelmed. I prayed and God gave me peace.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 11:28-30 & Matthew 7:7
So now I’m learning to anticipate get-togethers. I tell God where I am going (as if He didn’t know) and specifically ask for encouragement, discernment, and empowerment. To my relief I discovered that not every encounter was designed to be directly evangelical.
Here’s a sampling of some recent engagements:
At the gas station, the Spirit moved me to ask the attendant if he had read the Bible tract I had given him the week before; specifically the smaller-print on the back. He said he hadn’t. I handed him another tract and listened as he read it aloud. When he finished I said, “So, what do you think?
He smiled broadly and enthusiastically said, “This truly is good news!”
At the hardware store the cashier welcomed me and said, “How are you today?”
I’ve gotten into the habit of answering these queries with, “I am blessed more than I deserve! How are you?” Her response gave me an indication that she too was a Christian.
Our brief exchange was uplifting and encouraging.
A while back a rough-and-tough looking twosome appeared at my door and asked if I wanted my driveway coated and sealed. I was leery, but we agreed on a price and I gave them the go ahead. As they finished up, the Lord prompted me to ask if I could pray for them.
Not only did they agree, the one said, “We’re born again too! Mind if I lead?”
Admittedly, not every meeting bears fruit I can readily see. Sometimes a shared word is rejected. Other times the Spirit plainly says to my heart, “Just say ‘God bless you!’ to this soul and leave him be.” Nevertheless, it’s evident to me that with every encounter, God does a work, with the purpose and glory always His.
If we can agree that physical encounters are not accidents, then we can likely agree that impersonal, internet exchanges such as these aren’t coincidental either. I’m not sure why you’re here, but I have a sense why I was, and I further believe God determined and prearranged the time of this meeting.
Therefore I’d like to encourage you to treat every encounter as a divine appointment, even if you don’t entirely believe it to be so. There is truth in His word and as we step out obediently God will make His glory known.
“ He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
Can you bear witness to these truths? Please leave a comment as an encouragement and as a testament to His rightness.