I was watching a very poignant video on Facebook that told the story of a man who reunites two long, lost lovers after sixty years with a lost wallet and a goodbye love letter. It was a really beautiful story, but then I got to thinking how sad it would have been for this couple if the finder of the wallet hadn’t chosen to be persistent in tracking down the owner, or if he hadn’t been cunning enough to use the return address of the letter to find the girl. What would have happened if this man hadn’t cared enough to pick up that wallet, or if he had just took the three dollars in it and walked away? Certainly, there would have been no sappy video made, and no rekindling of a romance sixty years in the making. Tragic to say the least.
But the rabbit hole of my mind didn’t stop there! I have been thinking about my responsibility as a Christian. As I consider the urgency of bringing people to know Jesus and being His hands and feet in the world, the thoughts of what ifs can be almost paralyzing. What if I wasn’t persistent enough in sharing the gospel with my unbelieving best friend and she never gets saved? What if I was supposed to give that homeless man the money in my wallet but I passed him by and now he and his child go hungry? What if I didn’t say hello to that new family at church (and no one did either!) and they decide our church is generally unfriendly and as a result decide never to return to this or any other church again? These are hypotheticals that may be realities for many of us and they carry much weight. I don’t want to think about the missed opportunities I have lost in ministering to the lost, broken and hurting in this world.
However, in a Bible study I was reacquainted with some scripture that gives me hope and freedom from these worrisome thoughts.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)
Not that we don’t have a serious responsibility to do what Christ has called us to do, but it turns out that God is completely and totally sovereign all by Himself. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present; He is certainly orchestrating the steps of each of us to the end and purpose He designed from the beginning before we were even born. He already knows who will and will not accept His call; we don’t, so it’s important that we continue to announce the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we also don’t have to panic that we ourselves are someone’s only hope of salvation. In fact, Jesus is one’s only hope of salvation and He can and will use any means He likes to carry out His purpose.
What this means for us, though, is that if we are willing and make ourselves available to God’s purpose He will use us mightily through the power of the Holy Spirit. If we do not make ourselves available, we cannot thwart God’s purpose for someone’s life. He will simply side-step us and make another way, but then we miss the opportunity to be used for His Kingdom! No person can thwart God’s purpose for your life or for mine. God has been, is and continues to be in charge; trust in Him!