“God Calling” today quotes Psalm 121:8. The whole psalm is about God’s Hand over our lives. Today’s message touches on that. Because His hand is over our lives, there are no chance meetings, the message tells us. Those two words, “no chance” jumped off the page at me today.
First, I thought about Moses’ story. Pharaoh’s daughter wasn’t bathing in the Nile at that particular moment by chance. Pharaoh had issued an order that all the male Hebrew babies born must die. Moses’ mother had put him in a basket and sent him down the Nile to save his life. Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses’ in his little basket, in the reeds where she was bathing. She took pity on him and took him as her own son; and Moses life was spared. This was no chance meeting. I don’t think that she was childless by chance either-but whether or not that has any bearing is debatable. Regardless, she needed a nurse-maid, and apparently none of the Egyptian ladies in waiting were nursing a baby at the time, or for whatever reason, there wasn’t an Egyptian nurse-maid available. Moses’ own mother was able to nurse him and care for him. The other “no chance” meeting in this story was at the Red sea. It was actually a no “chance” meeting. The Israelites were backed up to the sea with no chance of escaping Pharaoh’s army. Pharaoh’s army was coming to kill them and there was the Red Sea in front of them, and the army approaching from the other direction. God came down in that “no chance” and made the way. He parted the Red Sea and they crossed over on dry land. Then He covered Pharaohs whole army with the water. The entire army was swept into the sea and destroyed. It was in this “no chance” meeting that Israel met their God for the first time, really, themselves. He met them in a miraculous display of might and power, and showed His jealousy or protectiveness for them.
I’ve thought about a few no chance meetings in my own life. A coworker once gave me a little book titled “God Calling.” It changed, and continues to change my life, even eleven years later, in such powerful ways. It was not by chance that I went to work at the place where I met this woman. In fact, I almost decided against applying for a position there. Something compelled me to, though. It was God preparing the way for the wonderful gifts that came into my life in the form of clients and coworkers, of experiences and memories. It is not by chance that found myself homeless in a city a thousand miles from what once was home for me. It was God preparing the way for some of the lessons I’ve learned and for some wonderful people I’ve met, and for what, I’m sure, lies just ahead. Also, when I look at my children and grandchildren, I am reminded that their parents are their parents, not by chance, but by God’s design. There was a time when I was angry over my foolishness in choosing the partners I did. But even though there was pain and suffering in those relationships, and they ended badly, it was not by chance that they happened. It was God preparing the way for the greatest gifts in my life. It was God giving me my greatest inspirations, my strongest supporters, and some of the best lessons, laughs, and joys.
The no “chance” moments in my life were not as spectacular as the parting of the Red Sea, but they have been as awesome. The first one, I don’t remember. My mother and grandmother relayed the story to me; each one teary-eyed in the telling. My grandmother, I’m sure, was teary-eyed because she thought she was going to lose me at the time; that I was going to die. My mother was probably teary-eyed because I didn’t. I was a pretty wild and ornery teenager. At the age of two months, I developed a serious case of pneumonia. When they took me to the hospital, I was given no chance of surviving the night. My grandmother was a woman of strong faith. I’ll be fifty one years old this month. When my grandson was born, we were told there was no chance that he wouldn’t have to lose at least one third of one lung. But my God says that if I ask anything in His Name, it will be done for me. I prayed as they were taking him into surgery. I was praying when the phone rang twenty minutes later. I’d stayed behind because there wasn’t room in the car. His grandpa was on the phone with the good news that the surgery was over and our baby hadn’t had to lose any of his lung. What started out as a no chance situation ended in a jubilant celebration of God’s goodness yet again.
I see people every day, literally just feet away from God’s house. They’re jobless, homeless, down and out about as far as one can get; and sitting in hopelessness because they won’t enter in to where Hope is. It’s not by chance that they are there. Hope is just a few feet away. Actually, that Hope is just a cry away. “Jesus, save me!” Psalm 26:8 says: “I love the house where you live, O, LORD; the place where your glory dwells. It’s not by chance that you are where you are. God doesn’t want anyone of us to perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of His saving grace and then have eternal life through Christ Jesus. God wants to; He longs to bless each and every one of us. He wants us to have abundant life, not abundant misery and dejection. I have so often in my own life forgotten that no chance thing. I’ve complained, and balked and gone kicking and screaming the whole way; only to realize later that it wasn’t by chance that I met this person who abused me, or that I ended up down here or going through this or that over there.
As for the other part of that no chance equation…I don’t hear “no chance” anymore. I hear that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world, and that I’m more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. I hear the 91st Psalm and the 103rd Psalm. I hear Psalm 121:8-“The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and evermore.