God is in the Details

Have you ever wondered if God was concerned about the details of your life? Maybe you – like me – have been fairly certain he was at work only in the big things, like marriage, health, job, and family. Two weeks ago, God blew me away with his attention to the little things!

Nineteen people from our church were in Rosarito, Mexico, to build a new home for a family. It had been a great week: deepening relationships within our team, making new friends with the family and, of course, the completed home. The family had even slept in it the night before we finished, and told us Thursday morning that it was their first night of warmth and no water dripping on them! That evening we all had joy-filled spirits as we crowded around a taco shop anticipating a delicious and very authentic meal on our last night in Rosarito. Then…

Someone broke into one of our trucks and stole my backpack and a money pouch holding three passports; the backpack had two more passports, a laptop, an iPod, a cell phone, and a few smaller things. My heart sunk. I was strangely unconcerned about the electronics, but the passports – three of them for minors – were going to be a problem. It had been a great week and I knew Satan was just trying to steal back some of the glory that God had gotten. Still, I was suddenly under a heavy weight of despair, and I sensed it settling onto our team, too.

Leaders are supposed to show confidence in crisis, right? But how could I do that? “Fake it till you make it?” Lousy theology, but perhaps sometimes necessary. As we finished eating I said something to one person, then another, and eventually it became my mantra: This is just another opportunity for God to reveal himself. I confess that that was definitely more a statement of hope than of faith, but I clung desperately to it. All week we’d been looking for and talking about how we’d seen God show up; why not now? Why not in this?

The rest of the evening, for six of us, was spent with Amor Ministries staff, Mexican police, and on the phone, filing reports and arranging for other identification to help us get back across the border. Friday morning dawned bright and clear, and as our team began to wake up, we got a phone call from Pastor David back at home: four of the five stolen passports had been found by an American in Tijuana! We quickly gathered the team to celebrate and thank God! As we stood in a circle and prayed, tears of dumbfound joy choked my words. I could barely mutter a brief, “thank you” to God, then let loose with a primal scream! (A few minutes later we learned that the fifth passport – just a card – was also found!)

The mood in camp changed from pensive and uncertain wondering to jubilation and excitement. We really had seen God work! But he wasn’t done yet….

We made arrangements with our own good Samaritan, CP, to meet in Tijuana to pick up the passports he’d found the previous evening. I was driving the last truck and got stopped at a light just before turning into the parking lot. By the time I pulled in, Dan had already met CP and was walking toward me, holding up a plastic grocery bag and saying, “here they are.” It struck me as an awfully large bag for a few passports. When I got out and looked closer, God just hit me again! There in the bag were a book about Amor Ministries that I had just purchased, a stack of papers, and the money pouch. A very thick money pouch. As I opened that, those choking tears returned: my calculator, digital recorder, checkbook(!), church keys, spare trailer keys, hand lotion…all those things that I thought were too inconsequential to worry about, that I had hardly mentioned to the police, that I neither expected nor particularly cared whether they were returned…God cared about.

In reality, I’m not sure that God cared about those things nearly as much as he cared to show me that he’s not too big for the little stuff.

Oh, and that statement of hope? (“Another opportunity for God to reveal himself.”) Well, he did – in little ways that proved very large, indeed.

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