Pastor Darryl Miller
Sand Lake UMC
65 W. Maple, Sand Lake
South Ensley UMC
13600 Cypress, Ensley Township
It was a dark and stormy night. Really! We were in one of our most beloved places in creation, our family church camp on Lake Michigan. Usually it is the most relaxing and joyful place. Except this night. I had recently undergone surgery to reattach my bicep and my arm was infected. And so, we found ourselves in the emergency room in Grand Rapids. I was miserable and I’m sure I was lousy company. As we sat in the waiting room, my wife suddenly said that the police were bringing in a man that she recognized. She went to see what was up and was told that he had attempted suicide. When I was settled, she went to talk to the man. She found out that he felt hopeless and wanted to end it. She began to minister to him and before I left the ER, she had convinced him to seek counseling and had helped him to arrange it.
So what does this have to do with you? Good question!
I didn’t want to be where I was. I was miserable and would have rather been just about anywhere other than a hospital. But even there God made himself real. In Romans 8:28 we read: “28 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” (NKJV). It sounds good, but what does it mean to me? God used a bad situation and made it good. That night, a man’s life was saved! He made himself real to me, my wife, and the man who was struggling so.
The infection was a real thing, and God did not cause it. Could he have stopped it? Yes. So why didn’t he? Because God sees things that we cannot. Had he stopped it, I, and my wife, would not have been there when this man was looking for help. Could God have intervened without us? Absolutely, but he allowed us to be his hands, feet and voice to this man. In Acts 8:26-40, Phillip is told to go into the desert and to run after a man in a chariot. And after his encounter with the man, he is swept away to preach somewhere else. God knows when and where we are needed. And it’s not always where we want to be. Although I am the preacher in the family, it was my wife who provided the needed ministry there. God calls everyone to be ministers, not just people with titles. That seems scary to a lot of people, but God is in control and as long as you let him guide you, you’ll do just fine! Don’t worry about what to say, God will provide the words, and besides, silent presence can be just as important.
The third person in this little story was the man. In his way, he was calling out for help. And faithful to his word, God heard him and answered him. What an awesome God! He hears us wherever we are and whatever we have gotten ourselves into. And he answers!
Unfortunately, we don’t always get to see the good that may come from every situation we find ourselves in. But even if we don’t see these results, that’s a part of faith, knowing that God is there and in control, even when we may not notice Him.
So next time you find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be, keep your eye peeled for God in action, you may be surprised at what you discover!