I’ve been thinking lately about divine appointments. I used to think in order for an event to qualify as a divine appointment it had to have a positive, almost miraculous, outcome. I suppose it is human nature to believe an unseen power is working on our behalf when good things happen. In fact, it is a natural conclusion we often use to explain particularly significant events — from landing our dream job to meeting the love of our life.
Events such as these may, indeed, be divine appointments. Yet, what about those events in our lives that are not exactly in line with our hopes and dreams? Do we believe God is only involved in the circumstances that result in the outcomes we want? Or do we believe he is involved in it all?
Since I recently experienced an outcome that was not what I expected, I have been re-thinking my views on this matter. Now, I am considering a new possibility. It is this — if God is in control of everything, then divine appointments cannot be limited only to events that result in glorious, self-serving outcomes.
We tend to get caught up in spiritually romanticizing the positive events in our lives. We tend to believe the hand of Providence was involved in welcome events, while holding an entirely different view of unwelcome events. It is easy to do, because we want to believe a good God will only give us good things. The problem we run into as humans, though, is our idea of good is often not the same as God’s idea of good.
God’s job is not to make sure we get everything we want, but to transform us into the image of Christ. The way this is most often accomplished is through the hard things in life that humble us and deepen our dependence on him. These things strengthen us by stripping us of our own strength and compelling us to lean into his strength.
Of course, no one wants to experience those unwelcome events. Yet, I can absolutely testify that if I had experienced a carefree life, I would have no need for God. It is also likely I would be a miserable, self-righteous jerk.
Most often, it is the suffering in our lives that serves a greater purpose and brings about more eternal good than those things our limited human perspective would call “good”. A perfect example of this is found at the cross. So, here is my final conclusion on the matter . . . just because something didn’t turn out the way I wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t a divine appointment!