Sunday, February 11, 2007

Where is God & What is He Doing?

When we arrived in Guayaquil in 1998 I asked myself the question “Where is God?” in the midst of the busy, noisy, dangerous city. I found him in worship with other believers (although I didn’t understand much Spanish at that point), in smooth sailing through government bureaucracy, in the few silences that a busy city affords, in the Word, in good music. But where was he when some kid bit Isaac on his arm at the church crèche our first Sunday out?

More than anything I found God in the grace and kindness shown to us by others: missos who shared their house with us for 3 months, hugs from my kids, a drunk who put his own life in danger to stop the traffic when the buggy Caleb was in fell apart in mid street, the woman who translated for us at the kindergarten, offers of hospitality. These acts of kindness are just that – human. Yet they speak of a designer who is supremely kind. They are also incongruous with an age and city that is dehumanizing, violent, selfish – tainted by sin & depravity. Why do people choose to be kind when they can be selfish? It is God’s image in them, whether they choose to believe in him or not it is undeniably his trademark.
Where is God in the place that you are ministering? I encourage you to look for him today.

After a while I began to ask another question. “What is God doing?” You see, mission is firstly God’s mission, Missio Dei, in which he invites us to participate. I began to see God working in people’s lives as they shared their journey with me. This gave me opportunities to join God in what he was doing in them and in the wider community. I was challenged to move beyond my comfort zone and not just “do my job”, but to truly be a co-worker with Christ
(1 Thes.3:2) to minister to those around me.

Henry Blackaby & Claude King in their excellent study-book Experiencing God put it this way:

1. God is always working around you
2. God seeks a continual love relationship with you that is real & personal
3. God invites you to join him in his work
4. God speaks by his Holy Spirit, the bible, prayer, circumstances & the church to reveal himself, his purpose & his ways
5. God’s invitation to join him in his work always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires confidence & action
6. You have to make major adjustments in your life to join God in what he is doing.
7. You get to know God by experience when you obey him & he does his work through you.

The challenge of that famous verse John 3:16 is that God is already working in the world. As we allow him to open our eyes to what he is doing & our ears to hear his voice, our obedience will lead us into exciting experiences of him as he works in us and in those around us.
What is God doing in your location today? I would love to hear from you if these thoughts cause you to ponder. We are on a journey together & I would love to learn from your experiences.

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