The devil’s not the only one into details. God sweats the small stuff too. But not like we do. While we stress over interruptions, cancellations, postponements and other “hiccups” in our day to day, those may be the very places God is at work.
At 23, I graduated from seminary and took a part-time summer job at a camp in the Pocono Mountains. I didn’t know what I would do after that, so I decided I could use the road trip from California where I’d attended Fuller Seminary to my summer job in Pennsylvania to check out the possibilities.
I wrote letters ahead of time to pastors I either knew or knew of, saying, “I’ve got two Teen Challenge films. Could I come and show them at your church?” I thought, They’ll give me a chance to show the films, I’ll preach a short sermon, and they’ll like what I have to say. Maybe they’ll have me back for a meeting.
I managed to schedule meetings crisscrossing the country all the way from California up to Wyoming, down through Kansas and Arkansas, then back up through Ohio and finally to Pennsylvania. The biggest church on my list was First Assembly in North Little Rock, Ark. Boy, I thought, if I can crack that church and get a meeting there, then all of Arkansas will open up.
I packed all my earthly belongings into my little VW Bug along with a borrowed, monstrous 16-mm projector and two giant 16-mm film canisters. When I was ready to set out, I received a letter from the pastor canceling the meeting in North Little Rock. I felt like someone had just let the air out of all my tires.
This was the plum, I thought. Now it’s gone!
I had my route all mapped out and had planned to skip Springfield, Mo. altogether, because it wasn’t on the path and I didn’t want to drown in the sorrow of visiting my hometown with all its memories when I couldn’t stay. When North Little Rock canceled, though, my route made a straight line through Springfield.
So my Bug and I drove to Springfield. As long as I’m here, why not visit Evangel, I thought. I strolled down to the dean’s office and found Dr. Ward Williams sitting at his secretary’s desk. I had written him from seminary several times, telling him how much I would like to teach at Evangel. He wrote back just as often to say, “You don’t have any experience. We’re looking for people with experience.”
But out of the blue, Dr. Williams looked up at me and said, “George, how would you like to teach here this fall?” It struck me that God’s voice was sounding an awful lot like Dr. Williams’ that day, so I answered quickly, “I’d love to.”
“Why don’t you go sit at my desk, fill out an application, and we’ll have you come in the fall?”
It happened that fast. Had it not been for the canceled meeting—the circumstance—my life today would be very different. I would never have met my wife, Jewel, and we would not have our two children, Evangeline and George Paul.
Many times God uses little things to get big things done. It’s important to be on the lookout for opportunities to let God direct the show, even in little ways.
What are some distractions, hiccups and disappointments that God has used to do something significant in your life?
George O. Wood is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.