To read The Encouragement Beginning, the intro to this series, click here.
“Four Stories...” is probably one of my top two or three favorites that I’ve written. My friend Amy had just come back into my life after our friendship had taken a year long hiatus, and I had no idea what God was up to. However, with our friendship being rekindled, it reminded me of God’s plan and purpose, His infinite tapestry that He weaves. So as a gift to her, I sat down and let God write the encouragement I’m sure He planned four thousand years ago to write on this day in 2000. (Introduction from "The Crucifixion Lifestyle: Random Emails of Encouragement Volume II")
FOUR STORIES & A CROSSING OF PATHS
I have a couple of stories to tell you, so bear with me.
About three million years ago, God placed a rock on the side of a mountain. It wasn't a very big rock, about six or seven inches around, not very high. That rock stayed in place, half embedded in the Earth, half not, for millions of years, as houses, grass and settlements went up around it. The rock remained, until...
A young man was cleaning out some thick brush by a small creek. The man who owned this land had hired the youngster to take his blade and cut the briars away. Wearing rags around his hands to prevent nicks and cuts, he picked up the briars to take them to his cart, where he would go on to haul them away to be burned later. He piled the brush high and then patted his donkey as a signal to begin pulling the cart away. About four miles down the road, the cart hit a rock embedded in the road, one that had been in the ground for millions of years. The cart jumped a little, but not enough for the man to be concerned to stop his donkey. It was, however, just enough to knock a couple of fresh briar stems and brush onto the grass. The fresh stem lay there on the grass, soon taking root. Years later, it grew into a thick patch of briars and brush, a patch that remained mostly untouched until...
A rabbit sat beside a little spring, nibbling on leaves as rabbits do. The bunny had been relaxing most of the day, when to her surprise, a ram came into the clearing. Not knowing if the ram was friendly or foe, the rabbit decided it would be best to move to another dinner location. The ram saw the white rabbit taking off, and in an instant, decided to give playful chase. Over the spring and through a little patch of woods they went, until the rabbit came into another clearing, this one by a road. Coming down the road was a human, carrying what looked to be another human. Rather than run towards the human, the rabbit decided not to chance it, turning toward a briar patch that had grown quite large over the last few years. The ram entered the clearing, still giving playful chase, and charged at the rabbit. The rabbit darted into the brush, and the ram, suddenly realizing he couldn't stop fast enough, skidded into the briars. Puzzled at first, the ram tried to pull away, only to realize his horns were caught in the thick briars. Panicked and desperate, the more the ram fought the briars, the more tangled his horns became.
Abraham carried his son to the altar. It pained him to do what he was about to do, and he didn't understand any of it. All he knew was that God was expecting a sacrifice, and He had asked that it be Abraham's son. As Abraham lifted his knife to kill his son, an angel appeared, stopping him. "Don't do it!" the angel cried. "Look in the clearing! There is a ram caught in the briars. There is your sacrifice."
I haven't a clue of the validity of the first 3 stories, I can only vouch for the 4th, as the Bible tells us its true. The Bible doesn't give us insight to the events leading the ram to be caught at that exact place and time, and it doesn't really have to. What I do know is that God controls everything, and He does it with unexplainable sovereignty. For everything that happens in His perfect will, He had a plan to make it happen. God could have just snapped his fingers and BOOM, there is a brush patch, and POW, there is a ram in the brushes, but I just don't think so. I think He had a plan to get that animal there at just the right time. Who knows, He could have very well placed a rock in the side of a mountain, knowing that millions of our years later He knew that in time, it would lead to a chain of events that would test a great Biblical leader and encourage millions of His children to follow.
This piece was inspired by a friend of mine who is going through a rough time of it right now, but through everything, she keeps telling herself--and reminding me--of the all knowing sovereignty of the Father.
I have come to recognize that He doesn't just say "this is going to happen" and then leave it to chance. He says, "This is going to happen and it will happen because I've been planning it since before you knew the concept of your human time." We forget so easily that He knows the numbers of hairs on your head and any God that knows that much about us must have a plan for our lives. And not only for our future, but for the present.
Just thinking about this makes me excited... its so important to realize that the Christ-Following Life isn't a chance happening, its God's Will in action! It's God's plan happening all around us as we speak, as you read, as I type this! Right now, there is something or someone God has set in motion before the beginning of time that will end up crossing your path tomorrow to help fulfill His will for you and for His Glory.
He knows who needs to cross your path at what time in your life, and He knows how to get that person there. He knows what paths you need to cross for someone else and He knows how to get you there. There is a book out there called "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff", and I agree. You shouldn't "sweat" the small stuff, because God has it taken care of... but taking that idea further, know that God is all in the small stuff. Big Guy is all about some details.
I look forward to some path finding.
--written October 18th, 2000, #37 in series.