Surrounded by Goodness
Surrounded by Goodness
This past Friday I took the day off from work and headed up to our lake house, which is about forty minutes from our home here in Birmingham. I’ve had a lot “on my plate” the past few months, and I needed to unplug and get away, even if it was for only six or seven hours.
I was accompanied by Stephen, Brooke, and Joshua, three members of 24/7, a leadership development program for young adults offered by Church of the Highlands, where my wife Jackie and I are members. Jackie and I have served as home sponsors for Stephen since last August, and during that time he had heard all about our second home on the water, but had never gotten the opportunity to actually see it; our schedules never seemed to coincide.
Stephen will be leaving us in a few weeks and headed for a permanent position with a church in North Carolina, and his upcoming departure was a huge factor in my decision to play hooky.
We set out for the lake at nine o’clock that morning, and most of the conversation during the drive centered on God, faith, and callings in life. As I drove, and as we talked, I became increasingly aware of God’s presence in my vehicle with us. And I became increasingly aware of the fact that I was in the presence of three rather amazing young adults.
I also got the feeling that God had something waiting for me at the lake; perhaps it was just going to be a good day, but then again maybe He had a self-discovery, an “aha moment”, a revelation planned for me. Filled with anticipation, I found myself pushing my 4Runner a little faster, eager to arrive at our destination, and ever-so-curious as to what God had up His sleeve.
God could not have given us a more picture-perfect day! The sun was up, the sky was clear, and there was continuous breeze that reminded me of being on the beach. There’s something about being on the water that allows me to release all the mental “junk” that I’ve manage to accumulate, and this day was no exception. We hadn’t even gotten down to the floating dock, and I could already sense a bounce in my step that I hadn’t felt in weeks. This was indeed going to be a good day.
The four of us sat on the floating dock and picked up the conversation where we had left off when we arrived. This continued for, I don’t know, maybe 20 minutes or so, until each of us were lulled into a quiet rest, by the sun, the sounds of the wind, and the gentle rise and fall of the dock in the small waves that were created by that same wind.
I was laying flat on my back, eyes closed, lost in prayer and meditation, thanking God for all the goodness that He has seen fit to bless me with, for the change that He has brought into my life, for a loving, supportive wife, for a beautiful family, for being healthy, for igniting this fire in my heart that burns for Him, and for the presence of those gifted three young adults at that were with me. In other words, I was expressing my gratitude to God for anything and everything that I could think of!
But I think that above all else, it was the people in my life that I was most grateful for.
Since I began this walk of faith in 2006, God has seen fit to put the most incredible people in my life. Let me qualify something before I continue…
There were good people in my life prior to 2006, but they were few in number. At the top of the list was Jackie, followed by our families, and a very small circle of friends. And that was pretty much it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have friends. There just weren’t that many of them.
I committed my life to Christ.
From that moment forward, good people began “popping up” in front of me. Well, it was more than that. They were not only good people; they were people that crossed my path at precisely the right moment in time to give me exactly what I needed to move forward in life.
One of these people led me to the Bible, the book of life, which I had ignored for years. Another, with a spoken word, gave me a new-found confidence that changed the course of our business. Yet another suggested a small book that altered the way that I looked not only at the world, but at myself.
A friend that I hadn’t seen in years suddenly “reappeared” and led me to a new church. That church opened the door to a new level of spirituality and led me to an ever-growing circle of amazing people that enrich my life, and support me, and cover me with prayer, and make my life better simply by their presence.
So is it a coincidence that I’ve been in the right place, at the right time, to meet the right people?
Of course not.
It is God unfolding His plan for my life. It’s part of His provision for me, to help me grow as a person; to help me grow as a Christian. You see, when I made the commitment to be a soldier of Christ, to be a light that shines for Him, and to be all that I can be every day, God knew that I wasn’t ready. He knew that I had a lot to learn, and a lot of growing to do. And He knew that I couldn’t do it by myself; I needed help.
That help has come in the form of people. Chance encounters with strangers that have changed, and continue to change, the course of my life.
Many of us thank God for the obvious things. We offer thanks for our families and our homes. We thank Him for our cars, and our health, and money in the bank. In other words, I believe that many of us cover the bases for all that we should be thankful for; and this is a good thing.
But do we thank Him for people?
I look around, and everywhere I look, I see good people. In my home. In my business. In my church. In my life.
Thank You, Lord, for those You have placed in my path that have changed my life, and for those that I have yet to meet.
Thank You, for completely surrounding me in goodness.