Making a camp fire needs a certain amount of planning. It can be very much a spontanious occassion, but there is usually some sort of thinking ahead required. Matchs, wood , some food to cook , marsh mellows, where to have the fire. Our lives ebb and flow with planning . At work I’m always told “fail to plan , plan to fail” .
For my day job I’m an IT project manager, and making sure no stone remains unturned is part of the course. Our lives can be become a daily routine of planning . What to eat , or wear, how to travel, sorting out money matters. These are all necessary to some degree. My problem sometimes can be that the comprehensive principles applied to deploying a new IT system to an Ambulance service can overflow into my home life and dare I say it my walk with God. I’ve been doing church youth work for a good number of years and being prepared is a good way to ensure the lesson goes as well as can be expected. Turning up to give 20 kids a hour of fun and bible teaching needs some degree of preparation; even if it is done the night before.
This week I was reading a passage in Galatians chaper 1 verse 15 ..”when God was pleased to reveal himself to me…” The apostle Paul certainly had God break into his life in a very unexpected way. The comentary notes for the passage suggested we may not always give God “Elbow room”. In other words it was an encouragement to make room for God. Our human nature is such that we are more than happy when we know what is going on and in some form of control with the outcomes. This tends to lead to us forgetting to make room for God in our plans.
Take the senario . I’m ready for the sunday school sesssion , Some warm up games followed by a time of worship then a bible story, complete with role play . A drink and biscuit break finishing up with a craft activity . Hopefully filling the time just ready for when the adults finish their main session. The question is “Have I left time and room for God to suprise me and do something from his agenda”? To be honest no. If my plans go well, I finish with thinking the kids enjoyed it, we gave God the glory in workship and they learnt something new from a parable, with something to take home as a reminder. But no part of my plans made any room for God to break in. Yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly God meets our life “when it pleases God to do so”
If someone joined your campfire, there would be the usual shuffle to make room , everyone squeezing up a bit hopefully making a new person-sized hole in the circle . But what if that person asked you to stand up and move away from the fire side so they could sit in your seat. You may say well I would offer my seat anyway . But it would be strange if the person requested your space first. Are you ready for God to turn up in your plans in an unexpected way , in a suprising way that might just stop you in your tracks and suddenly change your plans.
The next time you are planning something at Church make sure your life is so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through as and when God is pleased to do so. Live a life in a constant state of expectancy from God, and leave that seat at the fire side for God to come in as He so desires.
For some further reading, read the book of Ruth from start to finish. Now that is a story of how God breaks into someone’s plans in a very unexpected way.
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,”
Galatians 1:15 NKJV