God, Is that You?
By Dot Bowen
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
One of my favorite places to visit is the beach. I absolutely love getting up early and having my morning coffee while watching the waves as they stop at the very place God determined. One of the many things I love about going to the beach is I often decide to go a few days without wearing make-up since I usually don’t even have a conversation with anyone while I am away unless my family is vacationing with me. I’m sure this is a shocker to those of you who know how much I love to talk! If you were to ask any of our neighbors at the beach, they would describe my husband Howard as the social butterfly of our condo community and me as the shy one. This makes me one happy beach lover! You would not recognize me if you met me at the beach and then ran into me in Atlanta. I hope I look different quite a bit different when I comb my hair and wear a little makeup, but maybe not! It’s easy to believe we know someone based on her performance and appearance. We think we know people, but do we really? Is it possible to be deceived in to believing we know more than we really do? Can what appears to be real not be real at all?
I wonder how many blessings God has given us that we never knew were blessings because they didn’t look like blessings? The writer of letter to the Hebrews tells us not to forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so we may be entertaining angels without knowing it. The exhortation is for us to be careful because we may really not know what we think we know. God often brings people into our lives to minister to us, and if we aren’t careful, we will see them as nice people rather than God’s gift to us.
This is also true with life circumstances. Are the circumstances in our lives God’s way of ministering to us? Is it possible we have failed to see His hand weaving every detail together for our good? What appears to be one way may not be as it appears. Perhaps what we think is bad might be good. Can what we see as a curse instead be a blessing? Does what we think brings us freedom bring us bondage instead? What if who we believe to be our friend is really our enemy? Nothing illustrates these situations more than the life of Christ. Jesus came to deliver His people from their sins, and they missed Him. Why? Because they thought they knew whom to look for. Isn’t it ironic that the Jews were in such a hurry to crucify Jesus so they could celebrate the Passover? In reality, they were crucifying the Passover Lamb.
The Jews were looking for a deliverer from Rome, but instead, Jesus delivered them from themselves. How is it that the Son of God—the Messiah—walked on this earth and people missed Him? Could it be they had one opinion about God and Jesus didn’t fit their mold? Is it possible that God is actively involved in your life right now, but you have missed Him because you believe you know how God works? When things get complicated, do you believe God is not involved in your life? Do you find it hard to believe God would ever allow conflict in your life? As I have grown in my Christian faith, I have learned a few things. One of the most powerful truths I’ve learned is God is active in His children’s lives even if it appears He is not. It may seem God has strange ways to minister to us, but then again, who determines what is strange? Maybe God knows exactly how to work in our lives to accomplish exactly what we need.
Paul wrote it this way, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (emphasis mine). He did not say all things are good. Somehow God does work good out of bad things. Is it possible God is actively working out His purpose for your life even if the circumstances don’t match how you think God would work? Just because we don’t recognize God in our lives doesn’t mean He’s not present. Jesus was very clear when He told us He would not leave us alone. He sent His Spirit into our lives so we can know we are not alone. There is nothing going on in your life right now that God is not aware of—I promise. As a matter of fact, there is no place you can go where God is not with you. Take a minute to embrace this amazing truth: Emmanuel, God with us, is in the midst of your life! “Emmanuel” is not just the title of a Christmas carol. Don’t miss Him!
Further Reading Romans 8:28; Psalm 139