“Who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was blind from birth?”
One of the questions I find myself continually asking is this: is my life a choatic thread of random experiences and circumstances that I find myself in, or is there something bigger going on, an overlying plot or storyline of which I’m a part of.
I remember hearing Tony Campolo tell a story once of when he was going to speak at a college. After addressing the crowd, the elders of a local church prayed for him as he left. During the prayer meeting, they laid hands on him. One of the elders prayed for a long time randomly about a man named Charlie Stoltzfus. Tony Campolo remembered being a little bit aggitated at this man, thinking “shouldn’t they be praying for me?”
On and on this man went about this guy, Charlie Stoltzfus, saying “Lord, I pray for this man, and for his marriage that is falling apart. He lives down the street inthe third trailer on the left, on Maple street and he’s just left his wife. Please send an angel to bring him back to his family.” Tony Campolo thought, ‘God knows where this man lives! Can we please cut to the chase?’ After all, the weight of these guys hands on him was giving him a cramp in the shoulder.
After the prayer meeting, he left, and was driving down the road away from the college, when he saw a man who was hitchhiking. Feeling God leading him to pick this man up, he pulled over, opened the passenger door to his car, and introduced himself…
“My name’s Tony Campolo. What’s yours?”
“My name is Charlie Stoltzfus.”
He got in the car, they began a conversation, and Campolo immediately turned the car around.
“Where are we going?” the man asked.
“I’m taking you back home… because you just left your wife.”
“How do you know where I live?” asked Stolzfus, dumbfounded.
“God told me.”
Are the events of my life divinely appointed? Does God weave our lives together, like a beatiful tapestry, to those that are willing to seize the mometns that he provides us?
More than anything in life, this week I’ve realized taht what I desire is to live a missional life. I want to wake up every morning with a purpose… one that I have internalized, and is evidenced in the “chance encounters” that I have with people daily. I don’t want that purpose to be dictated to me by other peopel who have thought through it and articulated it in their own way… I want that purpose to come from within. I pray for that every day. Mission is what gives me energy to live. There’s something inside of me that hopes taht life is like that… when you are on mission, everything that happens to you happens so that “the works of God may be revealed,” like the blind man that Jesus’ disciples assumed was a result of sin.
Sometimes the most divine appointments God makes with people are in the disappointments in their lives… and not only that, but who we are, our DNA, was strategically woven so that the divine interactions we have will result in showing the wondrous and mysterious works of the invisible God from whom, through whom, and for whom are all things.
May you and me and everyone else find that elusive sense of calling and mission, whatever we choose to do in life.