Thursday, August 30, 2012

Man's plans; God's Purpose - M. Laycock

The men of Dawson City Gospel Chapel had just finished a prayer breakfast and were about to start work on the new church building. They were all anxious to get at it because the date of the dedication had been set and they were behind schedule. The pastor had prayed that morning for a couple more carpenters to help with the work.

They were about to begin when there was a knock on the door. The pastor answered and listened patiently to the man's story. He and his son had been trying to leave town, heading for Alaska on their vacation. But every time they tried to drive up the long hill out of town their vehicle broke down. "I was told there's someone here who is a good mechanic," he said. "Could I get him to have a look?" The pastor invited him in and explained his situation to the other men. Then he turned to the man and asked his name. "Bud 
Carpenter," the man responded. "And this is my son, Josh Carpenter."

He was a little puzzled when the men started to laugh, until the pastor told him what he had just prayed a few moments before answering the knock on the door. Bud then laughed with them and explained that he was taking his son to Alaska as a graduation gift and they really had no firm time schedule. "I'm pretty good with a hammer. We'd be happy to help for a few days." They stayed for a week. The mechanic looked at their vehicle and found nothing wrong with it. The work was finished on time and the pair continued on their way after the dedication celebration. They had no trouble climbing that hill.

I was thinking about that story the other day and thinking about how we are all like those Carpenters in a way. All of us are busily going on our way, with our own agendas and plans. But sometimes God throws a bit of a detour into the plan. We can react to it in two ways. We can fight it and keep on trying to climb that hill, or we can stop and listen for His voice to see if perhaps there is another plan in place.

A friend told me a story about going on a mission trip to India. The plans had been well made, the itinerary laid out and everything seemed in place. But when they arrived no-one met them. My friend said it was interesting to see how the group members handled it. Those from North America were stressed and some were angry. They wanted to call some one and get it all straightened out so they could get back on schedule. But there were two fellows from Africa who counselled a different way. They suggested the group wait and pray. So they slept in the train station that night and prayed.

The next day a young man arrived on a motorcycle. "I've been sent to get you," he said. But he was not from the mission and had no idea why he was sent to get them. After some debate they decided to go with him and ended up having a tremendous time of ministry and growth in his village. Nothing was structured. Each day was a routine of waking up and praying to see what God wanted them to do. And each day they were blessed. They never did connect with the original group they were supposed to work with but they all knew they had done what God intended.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

Marcia's devotionals have won awards in Canada and the US. Her devotional ebook for authors, Abundant Rain is now available for Kindle. Visit her website to learn more about Marcia's writing and speaking ministry.


Peter Black said...

Great stories, Marcia!
I still find myself being amazed with such turns of events that show the providential wisdom and hand of God in the affairs of those who desire to please Him, even after experiencing them in my own life as well as learning about them happening in the lives of others.
It seems at times that destinies (or at least trajectories) hinge on those pesky "detours," eh?

Marcia said...

So true, Peter!

Laura J. Davis said...

A great reminder Martha. God knows the plans he has for us - we just have to listen for Him and be willing to alter our agenda.

Tracy Krauss said...

very encouraging!

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