I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks talking with people about God. We have not only discussed the existence of God, and the gender(s) of God, but whether or not God qualifies as a “being” rather than a “force”. We have debated why bad things happen if God really loves us and whether or not God has a plan for the universe in General and our lives specifically. Did The Almighty just create the universe and then step out of the way to let things happen, leaving it entirely up to us to create our future, or is God actively involved in our lives, every day, intervening and lovingly guiding us?
Whew! There are some big questions there.
When I was in Bible college, I learned about something called the Watchmaker Theory. It’s the idea that there is an intelligent God who created the world but then left it and us to our own devices. Yes, there is intelligent design, but there’s no big plan for the world, there’s no answer to your prayers, there’s no divine intervention. We are really on our own.
When I heard about it, I certainly could understand why someone would see the world that way. If you aren’t looking for evidence of God’s guidance in the world, it’s hard to see it, especially amongst all the bad stuff that seems to be happening.
But that’s just it. We’ve got to be looking for it.
I am currently travelling for a speaking tour.
After all the conversations about God and his role in our lives, I got a reminder of just how involved he really is.
Saturday night I departed Israel for NY. I didn’t have an American SIM card for my phone, but figured that I could pick one up at the airport or locally pretty easily as I had on past trips.
When I arrived, which was very early in the morning on Sunday, nothing was opened at the airport that sold SIM cards. So I went over to the car rental place and picked up my car. I pulled up to the check-out booth and I asked the guy there if he knew where I could go to get a sim card. His response? “Lady, its 7:00am on a Sunday morning, nothing is open now!”.
The problem is that Waze (the GPS program on my phone) doesn’t just use the GPS on your phone, it also needs the internet! Without a SIM card I had no GPS, and I don’t know NY at. all. So I asked the guy at the booth to send me towards Brooklyn. I don’t know NY but I had my host’s address, and I knew it was in Brookly. He looked at me like I was nuts and told me to turn right a couple of times and follow the signs for the Belt Parkway West.
It was pouring. I couldn’t see very well, but I got on the Belt Parkway West. A little bit down the road, having no clue where I was or where I was going, I saw to the right a shopping plaza with a Target and some other stores and thought maybe they might have a phone store there. So I exited the parkway and headed towards the shopping center – which I never found. I began to panic.
Here I am in NY, which is a big place. I need to get to Brooklyn, but I don’t even know what part of NY I am in at the moment and I certainly don’t know its relationship to Brooklyn. I don’t even know the general direction to head in. I have an address, but the same place could exist in more than one part of NY – it’s a big state!
Well, I decided to keep driving in search of a phone store or at least a parking lot to sit in until it got late enough for something to open up. Finally, I just offered up a prayer. “Father, I have no clue where I am or where I am going. I don’t know whether I need to turn right or left. I’m hungry and I’m exhausted. Please direct me where to go. Do the driving for me!”
A few minutes later, I felt like I should turn, so I did. A few more minutes and I came to a major intersection with a road called Ocean Ave. Ocean Ave. Hmmmmm….that sounds vaguely familiar, like I’ve been on that road before. So, I decided to turn onto Ocean Ave. One of the next intersections was East 51st street. The address I was going to was on East 2nd Street. I wondered if I could just keep going. I didn’t even know if it would be the same 2nd street, but I decided to keep going.
Suddenly, Ocean Ave turned and I was like, “oh no, now what?” but I followed the car in front of me and the road I was on crossed Ave J. Wait! The address said that my host was between Ave O and Ave P so I kept driving until I reached Ave O. I turned on Ave O until I reached East 2nd Street.
And I found my host’s house! What were the odds that I could have found that house? I had no clue where I was, what direction I needed to go – I didn’t even have enough information to make an educated guess. I have only one Place to credit the fact that I found my host’s house. Somebody cared enough about me to make sure I got there, because it wasn’t anything I did – other than having a little faith. Okay, a lot of faith!
We live in a world where Truth and Clarity are hidden. Sometimes it’s hard to know. Anything. Really. There are so many people who feel like since God is at times so well hidden, it’s clear He’s just not there. But like a Where’s Waldo book, sometimes you have to look really hard to find him, but once you do, and you know what you are looking for, you find him everywhere!