Birth, birthdays and even death are important times of blessing
Some weeks you wonder how everything comes in bunches. “Amazing” is the only word I find appropriate to describe the events of many Saturdays and Sundays at Special Gathering. We had such a time several years ago. So much happened–good and bad–during our chapel services on Saturday and Sunday that it will take a week to chronicle. However, I’ll begin with God’s providence in our daily lives and in the lives of our members.
Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community. We are a community based ministry with the mission to evangelize and disciple people who are developmentally disabled. Combined, our eight programs are sponsored by approximately 110 local churches in five counties from two states. We draw our material from a variety of places. Currently, we are using the Southern Baptist material, Access, because overall we have found that it is the most convenient to us that is continually updated. It is also consistently faithful to the scriptures.
I have been told that the series of lessons that are used in the Unified Lesson that most denominations use as their text for each Sunday is planned four years in advance. Which means that the text for our July lesson was planned in 2004. I know that the Southern BaptistAccess curriculum plans and writes their material a year in advance. Therefore, the lesson for July 25 was written in 2007. Once I received that material, I take the scripture text and the lesson material and do my sermons about a month ahead of time.
Our lesson for July 25 was taken from Genesis 47 when Jacob blessed Joseph on his death bed. My lesson centered around that event. I spoke that it was a great blessing of God to be able to have our family and friends with us for important events in our lives. (The Bible tells us that Jacob’s greatest desire was to have Joseph close his eyes in death.) I talked about how our family and friends should bless us with prayer during these important events in our lives. I highlighted three events that I felt are important in every person’s life: birth, birthdays and death.
I planned as my attention-getting device to have a balloon from my husband’s recent birthday party. But I forgot to put it into the car while preparing to go to the Saturday program. As I was traveling to Vero (a 50 mile trip from my SpG office), I was aggravated with myself that I’d forgotten such an important part of my sermon. Then I realized that I didn’t need a balloon from a party that happened a couple of weeks ago because we had planned a small birthday celebration for one of our volunteers. We had also planned a birthday celebration for her on Sunday because she is our supervisor in Melbourne. We would have a birthday cake for each service and we could sing Happy Birthday and honor Joanne.
Reflecting on God’s guidance in our lives was overwhelming to me as I traveled in my car to our Saturday program. Four years ago, God planned to surprise this wonderful Christian with a birthday surprise. And he planned to bless our members by giving them a tangible, up-to-date example for the lesson.
What an amazing God we serve. What detail. What intricate planning and bringing together of circumstances to be able to show His love for a servant who desires no recognition but only to be able to go about doing her job with excellence. Of course, we know that he is constantly working our these kinds of events, adventures and misadventures for us. However, it is marvelous when God graciously opens heaven’s doors and lets us see his hand moving in our lives.
Happy Birthday, Joann. You are greatly loved by God and by us!
What was one time in your life that you knew that God had divinely worked out circumstances to bless someone you know?