Summary: PENTECOST 7, YEAR A - With God there is no "mere chances." God is in all things bringing good out of the bad to those who love Him and are called to His glory
Exo. 1:22-2:10, I Cor 1:18-31
In W.W.II a B-17 was barraged by flak from Nazi anti-aircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular flight the gas tanks were hit, yet the plane flew safely back to base. On the morning following the raid, the pilot went down to ask the crew chief for the shell as a souvenir of his unbelievable luck. The crew chief told him that not just one shell but eleven had been found in the gas tanks -- eleven unexploded shells where ony one was sufficient to blast the aircraft out of the sky. Chance, or Providence?
On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, a small businessman stood with his partner. Business was all gone, and the partner asked, "How much longer can we keep this going?" The owner answered, "It looks as if our business has just about winked out." Then he continued, "You know, I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldn’t mind so much if we could sell everything we’ve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book--Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law, but I guess I can’t." At that moment a strange-looking wagon came up the road. The driver drove it up close to the store porch, then looked at the owner and said, "I’m trying to move my family out west, and I’m out of money. I’ve got a good barrel here that I could sell for fifty cents." The businessman’s eyes went along the wagon and came to the wife looking at him pleadingly, her face thin and emaciated. He slipped his hand into his pocket and took out, according to him, "the last fifty cents I had" and said, "I reckon I could use a good barrel." All day long the barrel sat on the porch of that store. The partner kept chiding the owner about it. Late in the evening the businessman walked out and looked down into the barrel. He saw something in the bottom of it, papers that he hadn’t noticed before. His long arms went down into the barrel and, as he fumbled around, he hit something solid. He pulled out a book and stood dumbfounded: it was Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law. That businessman was Abraham Lincoln. Chance, or Providence?
A young minister and his wife were unemployed. Although they sent out many applications to various ministries, they had received no reply. The minister was becoming anxious and felt unsure of his future. While they were out driving one day the wife asked her husband “if you could ask God for anything right now, what would it be?” The husband thought for a moment and then said, “a place where I could be restored, where I could learn what it means to be a minister of God, and where I could discover where God is leading me.” When they arrived back home, they received a message to call the director of a hospital chaplaincy program. When the minister contacted the director he was told that there was an opening due to one staff member leaving unexpectedly. However, the director had to be out of town the next week. His business trip was to the very state that the minister and his wife were also planning to visit that same week. They set up a time and place to meet and at that meeting they were invited to go out to the hospital for an complete interview. There they were both accepted into the hospital’s chaplaincy program. In less then two weeks they had moved from Worcester Vermont, Greg’s home town, to Danville, Pa. Chance or Providence?
“Providence” What does that word “providence” mean to you? According to Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, providence is "the hidden, patient, sovereign enactment of God’s overriding purpose beyond the will and choice of human agents." These sovereign acts surface at critical points in our lives and they may not even be obvious. The providential work of God is not always plain and clear to us. We may not even realize that it is God who is acting. Only later, at some future time, when we look back over our lives, that the truth is revealed, Then we come to see the hand of God. and we say, "Ah-h-h. Now I understand what that was all about!"
A slave girl bears a son. The king has decreed that all male children born to Hebrew slaves are to be killed at birth. Two midwives disobey the king and let the male children they deliver live. One child they deliver is the son of this slave girl. She hides him for three months, and when she can hide him no longer she takes a basket, daubs it with tar, and puts the child in it. She then hides it among the reeds at the edge of the Nile River. The baby’s older sister stands by and keeps watch. On that day the daughter of the king omes