Wendy and I just got back from a long weekend on Marco Island with a couple friends. That's fun in itself, but to make it even more unique we rode our scooters down and back. That's about 130 miles each way at a top speed of 30mph! File it under "Making Memories."
We almost bagged it and drove the car. It had been raining up and down the Suncoast all last week, and Friday was no different, with a call for scattered thunderstorms the whole way. But with an overcast sky and some Florida sun peeking through, we headed south on the Tamiami Trail.
About an hour into our trip we could see a downpour about a mile in front of us. We stopped and put on our rainwear and drove toward it, with me leading the way. I didn't say anything to the others but I was somewhat casually and conversationally asking God to clear it away before we got there. And sure enough, we kept chasing downpours for a couple hours, without getting rained on. Until Punta Gorda.
Wendy and I were familiar with Punta Gorda, having spent a week there last August. We had brought our scooters and tooled around there, just having a good get away. One of the places we visited every day was a Publix supermarket, where there was a Redbox video rental.
It was nice to be in familiar surroundings like that, especially since I was leading the way. I recognized the area and was just looking around, reminiscing as we approached the familiar Publix. And then, suddenly, we got hit with a Florida downpour! And the timing was such that in about thirty seconds we had pulled off into the Publix overhang for shelter. Perfect timing. But still, I was thinking it would've been nice if God would've just kept the rain away.
But as we pulled to a stop, our friend looked at his back tire to discover that it had a big bubble. It was in the process of coming apart. We looked across the street and there was an auto parts place. The rain died down (it is Florida, afterall) so he drove over to see if they knew of a place that could repair scooter tires. A man outside the store pointed him a quarter mile down the road, where, sure enough, there was a scooter place that happened to have one of those tires in stock. Not only that, but he offered our friend a loaner scooter so we could go get lunch while he repaired it.
An hour later, with a new tire, and stomachs full of wonderful pizza, we headed southbound into the only twenty-mile stretch of nothingness between Sarasota and Marco Island.
Some have said that, "With God there are no coincidences." But couldn't we say that with God everything is coincidence? In fact, I would say of our little experience, "What a great coincidence!" The downpour was timed perfectly so that itcoincided with our our need for a new tire, and coincided with us being a quarter mile from a store that could fix it, and it coincidedwith us being right next to a pizza place at lunch time.
I don't want to make too much of it, but I'm just trying to drive home this point: God is able to bring blue sky and downpours at just the right time so that they coincide with just what you need. He is able to clear the path ahead of you when you are on a mission. And he is able to disrupt your progress when you should be paying attention to something you're missing. And we don't get to decide when that is, because we don't have the Divine perspective.
If we would understand that, we might find greater contentment along the way, and might be inspired to worship more consistently for the things that come our way.
The challenge for us, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to trust God with the coinciding of events. Don't get superstitious about it; don't get distracted by looking for hidden meanings in everything. Rather, just trust that God is able to make his grace and provision abound for you. And trust that he IS doing that. So worship him. Give him thanks for the blue skies. And praise him for the downpours, even if up until recently he's been answering your prayers to prevent them.
If you haven't read Psalm 104 recently, go spend some time in "wonder" with it. Takes special note of verse 4, and verses 33-34.
Then, whatever you're praying for or against, honor God for his good gifts, and meditate on the GREAT COINCIDING of his love and provision for your pleasure, mission and rescue, as he sees fit.
(originally published at www.bahiavistachurch.org/pastors-blog)