Saturday, November 19, 2005

God or us?

Before leaving from amsterdam, we were having a conversation about how self-sufficient our culture is becoming. Those of you who were at h2o on sunday might remember the story I told about the Chinese Christian who couldn't understand how Americans could maintain lives of faith amid their self-sufficiency.

We often think it is entirely us who are in control of our lives. God laughs at this and says something like, "apart from me you can do nothing." Paul says that it is "in Him that we live and breath and have our being." Yet we like to take credit for things. And, interestingly, God allows us the privilege in playing a part in what He does.

As we were descending into Amsterdam our pilot told us that it was cold, but we were descending into clear skies. Two minutes later, the lights all came on in the plane, and we hit some huge turbulence. Apparently we hadn't quite reached those clear skies. It was odd, but it was just some turbulence.

A few minutes after this minor episode (eqivalent to travelling on an old country road with a few potholes), the 1st officer came on the speakers. She wanted to let us know that there was nothing to worry about. Our plane had just been hit by lightning a few minutes ago but all electrical systems were functioning perfectly fine.

I thought to myself--was it the great electrical system of the plane that had saved us, or was it God who was preserving our lives? Was it the innate skill of the pilots, or was even that skill the gracious gift of God that was working all things for the good?

I have to wonder about what God has in store for our team. We left uncharacteristically early for the airport and made it just in time for our flight. Our plane was struck by lightning on its descent. We have spent one day here in amsterdam, and are just getting oriented to our new surroundings, but I can't help thinking God is going to teach us something far greater about Himself in this process than anything we even bargained for. I believe something more than a heart for evangelism and service (which are both great things) will be the result of this short period across the big water.

No comments: