I jogged through my neighborhood the other day under a cloud. Not a cloud of rain, but a cloud of self-doubt. The challenges of life seemed to outnumber the resources, and I questioned my ability. And, quite frankly, I questioned God's wisdom. "Are you sure I'm the right man for this job?" was the theme of my prayer.
Apparently God really wanted to give me an answer, because I heard one. From on high. From a deep, booming voice. "You're doing a good job!" I stopped dead in my Reeboks and looked up. Seeing nothing in the clouds, I shifted my attention to the roof of a house. There he waved at me--a painter dressed in white and leaning against a dormer. I waved back. And I wondered and almost asked, "How did you know I needed to hear that?"
Am I stretching theology a bit when I suggest that God put the man there, at least in part, for me? Long before time had time, God saw each moment in time, including that one. He saw a minister in need of a word. He saw a fellow with a skill for painting and a heart for encouragement. He put one of the street and the other on the roof so the second could encourage the first. Multiply that tiny event by billions, and behold the way God sustains his world.
As I read this passage this morning, I was reminded of an event in my own life that took place just last week. I, too, was walking under a cloud of self-doubt. It seemed that all was wrong with the world and that nothing I did mattered. "No one appreciates my work, so why should I bother?" I asked the Lord. "My writing has been rejected time and time again. My work at the church seems to go unnoticed. I don't have the skills that others have, so why am I even trying to do these things?" Yeah, it was a really nice pity party.
Then, on Sunday evening, after the church service, a kind gentleman in our church shook my hand and said, "I don't know if I've told you, but I really enjoy hearing you play the piano. Your offeratories are always such a blessing, and when you sing, I really enjoy it. Thank you!"
I mumbled, "Thank you" as I fought back the tears. God knew Satan was on my back. God knew I was doubting my work and His work, too. God knew I needed encouragement, so He gave it. Isn't God good?
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
II Corinthians 9:8