God uses ordinary events to reveal His extraordinary purposes. Just when you think you're going in circles in your everyday life, He can intercept your plans and make His ways known to you.
In 1 Samuel 9, a story is told of a young man who is engaged in ordinary family affairs. His father's donkeys have gone missing, and he is given the task (along with a helper) to go and find them.
The young man's name was Saul...and he had no idea that his search for a band of renegade donkeys would start a chain of events that would eventually make him king of Israel.
The mission takes the pair of young men all over the countryside. I'm sure they were thinking, "where on earth could these pranksters be?" They would have been familiar with the inquisitive nature of the animals, and probably realized just how much ground the sure-footed creatures could cover.
After three days of looking high and low, they finally give up and decide to head back home. Without cell phones to use to check in, Saul knows his father will be worried. In one last-ditch effort to find the donkeys they seek out the prophet Samuel, who just so happens to be in the area, in order for him to inquire of the Lord of the their whereabouts.
Unbeknownst to Saul, God had spoken to Samuel the day before, preparing him for their encounter. He told Samuel exactly what would happen and how the young man would come looking for him, and that this tall teenager was the one He'd chosen to be king. The scene unfolds just as God described it. Samuel invites Saul to feast with him and then just before they part ways, he anoints Saul's head with oil. This sacred action marks Saul for God's purpose in a tangible way. Saul, however, is still concerned about his father's donkeys, to which Samuel reassures him.
"Those donkeys? Pssh, don't worry about them. They've already made it safely home on their own."
The donkeys didn't even really need to be found. Because God had had something else in mind.
You see, the real purpose of Saul's journey was not to find a group of runaway animals. It was to get him to a place of encounter with God. The task he was doing for his father was simply a means to move him into the right place at the right time. It was when he was out of his comfort zone, his familiar surroundings, that God brought him face to face with what would be his true mission in life. He was anointed for kingship right then and there.
I wonder if you, too, are on a seemingly insignificant journey?
Maybe your job is one that feels like it is going nowhere. You're wandering in circles, looking for your purpose, and yet somehow you know this is where God wants you. It all seems like such a waste of time and you're tempted to give up.
Perhaps God is moving you to place of encounter.
Perhaps, like Saul, God is moving you to place of encounter. A place where your vision and purpose will suddenly come into full view. Let me encourage you. Watch and see: His purpose WILL unfold. People and events will cross your path through divine appointments as you journey onward....things that would never happen unless you just keep going. Keep taking that next step.
God uses ordinary events in extraordinary ways. He is able to take a "seemingly insignificant" job and boom! use it to put you right where you need to be. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that a person can think he's planned his ways, but God is working behind the scenes to direct each step.
I love that.
Thank you for your notes of encouragement this last week as I embark on a journey of my own. I'm believing that my "chance" devotional reading of 1 Sam. 9 is a confirmation that God can use renegade donkeys for a greater purpose - and that my simple "Flash" stories will come together in a book that He can use for His glory. I love and appreciate you all so much.
Tell me: have you ever encountered God's purpose in the midst of the regular affairs of your life? Have you ever said, "so THIS is why I've been on this journey!" ? I'd love to hear about it.
Do you feel like you're going in circles today, trying to follow God's leading but can't figure out what His purpose is? Let me pray for you, that you'd encounter Him in a way that will clearly show His care and design for you.