I believe that you can make a good case for the following proposition: God uses people in his plans and purposes. If this proposition is true, then we should be prepared for whatever God would have us do, and whatever he has planned for us.
I believe that he brings certain people together at certain times, in certain places, and he works through them. Now I don’t mean that these events are necessarily world-shaking events, but neither do I think that we are in a very good position to judge the significance of these events when they occur. We should treat every intersection, every chance meeting, every seemingly mundane event as if it is an opportunity, because it is. Every time we are brought together with other people, every time we meet a stranger, every time we meet a friend, or loved one, we have an opportunity to affect them for good. We have an opportunity to fill a need, to encourage, to lend, to love. We have an opportunity for God to work through us, if we will let him.
It sort of boggles the mind to think of all of the billions of people in the world, milling about, bumping into each other, and heedlessly going about their business like a bunch of ants. But we are not ants. We are created in his image. He is seeking our participation in his purpose, and in his will. He is not in time, as we are. We live in a linear reality. If you think about it, all of our analogies about life involve moving forward along a straight line. Life is like a road, or a train. We are constantly moving forward; looking back at the past, and trying to peer forward into the future, and always stuck right in the middle, in the present, in the moment. But God sees it all at once, the whole parade of human history. He knows where we are headed, even if we don’t. He knows we are going to stub our toe on the dresser, in the dark, next Thursday. He knew it a millennium before we were born.
God works his will in the world in three dimensions: people, place, and time. He creates a time, in a place, with a group of people that he has brought together, to accomplish some work, or to move his purpose in a certain direction, or sometimes…just for pleasure, just for fun! Who says God is not concerned with pleasure and with fun? Who says that pleasure and fun are not legitimate reasons for God’s concern, and are not important in God’s creation?
I call this convergence of people, time, and place, an Intersection. Can you think of any intersections in your life? Can you think of any such convergence of certain people, in a certain place, at a certain time, coming together, according to God’s purpose? The Bible is full of examples of these intersections. Human history in general is full of these intersections, but the purest examples of intersections that come to my mind are the family, and the church.
Who doesn’t believe that God had a hand in bringing them together with their true love? I know this in my own heart, as well as I know anything. There is no doubt in my mind, that God answered my prayers, and the prayers of my wife. In the fullness of time, when we were both prepared for it, he brought us together. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to imply that we are not capable of steering the wrong way at these intersections. God allows us to exert our own wills, in all matters of the world. So his purpose is not always served when an intersection occurs. Often a wreck occurs instead! God could make us do his will, of course. But he doesn’t. He allows us to choose, and sometimes our choices negate his will and purpose, often resulting in unrequited love, or wars, or other similar human tragedies.
The church is a perfect example of an intersection, if ever there was one. What a wonder and a joy it is to watch God bring people together, in a place of his choosing, at a time of his choosing, knowing that the seeds have been planted for the harvest of the gospel to grow! What a powerful force is the will of God, when people all work and pray in harmony to achieve it! And what a fragile force is the will of man, when we take our eyes off the cross and begin to seek our own.
What an opportunity we have when God brings us to an intersection! What an exciting thing it is, to realize the potential for affecting the lives of others for Christ. What an honor and a privilege it is to be an instrument in the hand of God, in the building of his Kingdom.
We can prepare for these intersections. We can prepare ourselves by praying for God to use us, by praying for his will to be done in our lives. We can prepare ourselves by studying his Word, to be used as a beacon, a lamp for those that we meet at that intersection. We can prepare ourselves by acquiring a loving heart, a God seeking heart, a need seeking heart, a serving heart. We can prepare ourselves by seeking his will, and watching for the next intersection. It’s up ahead, just around the next bend. Who will you meet there? Jesus will be there, and you. God only knows who else will be there, and only God knows where it will lead, or what you will be called to do. Prepare yourself.