There are seasons to our lives, as the Preacher observed more than 3,000 years ago, then went on to name 28 different ones (Eccl. 3:2-8). I add two more, since there are also times for change and for remaining the same. The decade 1972-1981 was a season of many changes for Sara Faye and me. At one point when we were intensely seeking God’s guidance, I asked a friend his thoughts about how to balance our own efforts and waiting on divine intervention. He smiled, said he had no clear answer but observed that he thought God found it easier to guide a moving object.
He meant, of course, that God doesn’t want us to just sit and do nothing but that he does ask us to trust in him to guide our steps (Prov. 3:5-6). Somehow, while we busily do the things we know and are able to do, God brings everything together and makes it all work out. Interestingly, the most crucial actions, events and details that determine the actual outcome often transpire entirely outside our realm of control.
I was reminded of this truth the past weekend as we celebrated with my California brother Benjamin the publication of his children’s book Enrique Speaks With His Hands. Like most new authors, Benjamin had worked hard for two years submitting his manuscript to dozens of publishers while the rejection slips piled up. Then one day he received a phone call from a publisher who was very interested. The funny thing was that Benjamin had never contacted this publisher. It had heard about him from one of its established authors whose relative had crossed paths with Benjamin as strangers in an airport and ended up talking about the children’s manuscript. The stranger mentioned it to his relative who mentioned it to his editor and the rest, as they say, is history.
Why do you suppose God works in such roundabout ways? Perhaps the results give us some clue. It’s what we call a “God thing” and we give him thanks. It wouldn’t have happened if we had done nothing, which encourages us to think and work as best we are able. And it gives us reason to discuss God’s wondrous workings with our friends — something that gives God pleasure (Mal. 3:16-18).