I was at Westerly’s 350th Anniversary Gala last week and was blessed to meet a woman who regularly reads my column in the newspaper. She told me she never misses it and often shares it with others. I was flattered. Then she said, “I don’t know how you come up with something different every week.” I told her that things just happen and I write about them.
The truth is I feel a little bit like Forest Gump. I walk into situations and a story idea develops. So what makes them interesting? I asked a friend what he thought. He suggested that we all have these serendipitous moments but most of us let them go by without much analysis. He told me he thought it was my ability to find God in everyday things that made all the difference.
That’s why I started writing these “epistles” to people in my congregation 20 years ago. I wanted to inspire them to look for God in the events of their everyday lives. I wanted them to understand that God doesn’t remain in the church when we leave after service on Sunday morning. God goes with us. You can find him if you just stop and look around. God is in everything.
For example, I went to the bank a few weeks ago to get a little money. I only needed $40 but I wasn’t sure how much was available because we had just paid a bunch of bills. I was afraid I would get declined when I put in my ATM card. The money came out. I got my card back. I looked at my receipt and almost fell over. The statement said I had over $3,000 in the bank.
My first thought was that I had tapped someone else’s account. There was a woman at the machine before me. Maybe it was hers? Could she have failed to log out when I made my request? I quickly ruled that out, but still wondered where the money had come from? I was feeling bankrupt when I went to the bank, but in reality I had more money than I needed.
It reminds me of the way God provides for us. Our account is never empty when we go to him. When we are weak, God is strong. When we are lacking, God gives us what we need. When we can’t take another step, God picks us up and carries us forward. He restores our soul and gives us new life.
When I checked with my wife, Lori, she told me that she had moved money around so she could pay our taxes. So although there was money was in our account, it didn’t really belong to us. It was designated for another purpose. It made me think of the way God gives us gifts and talents to use. He calls on us to use what he has given us to reach out with his message of love.
He calls on us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and provide shelter for the homeless. He sends us out as ambassadors to share a message of reconciliation and hope with a world in need. We are stewards of all God’s gifts. He has place them in our accounts but they are to be used for his glory.
Well there you have it. It’s pretty easy to find God and come up with a devotional thought if you are open to looking for Him. All you have to do is try. God is always with us. That’s my secret for writing a column every week. I play hide and seek with God and then tell you where I found him so you can find him too!
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.