We all face critical change points, events that significantly shape the rest of our lives. What puzzles me, though, is life determined for people of faith? Some, like Calvinists, lean toward God choosing all. Arminians blend free will into the mix, and deists acknowledge that although God created the world, he has little involvement in daily operations.
For me, one of the three greatest change points came with my move to Taos NM. I’m absolutely clear that God determined that—here’s why. Tired of SoCal congestion and smog, I determined to move to Colorado, where I had a job lead. The route led through Taos, where I’d lead mission projects for two summers. Then came nine issues, each essential for the final result.
I pulled into Albuquerque on a rainy Saturday, had dinner at the historic La Placita, and finished about 8 PM. That timing turned out to be critical.
Being 27 and single, the night was young, and asked the waitress about local dance spots. They didn’t open until 10 PM, so I thought I’d drive up to Los Compadres in Taos.
The drive took two hours, perfect timing for when the festivities began.
With Los Compadres at the north end of town, I spotted the First Baptist Church, midtown, and determined to go the next morning.
Phil, the pastor, and I hit it off, and he asked if I’d be interested in a part time job as Christian Education minister. I told him of my promise to spend no more than three days without getting a sure job—he’d see what he could do.
Monday was a chance to visit friends in a nearby town, so Tuesday I called his house. Phil’s wife said he might have something, but in the day before cell phones, she had no idea where he might be. I drove downtown, parked, and there he was ten feet away. That never happened again! The job was caretaking an unused guest ranch in the mountains above Taos, but the couple who owned it were out of town, but should return later. He had no clue when.
So Phil took me to meet a RC Gorman, a Navajo artist, at his “office,” the bar of a local restaurant. As we left through the restaurant, the couple needing to hire someone were there. We talked briefly, then they invited me to meet them at the ranch at 4 PM.
Not sure of how long it would take, I arrived at 3:45. He showed me the ranch, asked if I was interested, and offered it to me at 3:55. At 3:55:10, I accepted it.
At 3:55: 20, he received a phone call from a guy who had been interested in the job, but he had to check on some things. Now, if the job was available, he wanted it. But, it had just been given away. Folks, the early bird gets the job.
I lived on the ranch for a year, in Taos for two, and time there totally changed my direction. More details next week on that!
One or two, maybe five, events like that could be coincidence. Nine? No chance. All nine had to happen, as they did, in a tight time frame, or my life would have taken a different direction. 40 years later, I’m convinced God wanted me in Taos, and manipulated events to ensure it. Yes, according to Romans 8:28, God DOES work in all things for good. But does God ALWAYS act so strongly to determine human history? Let’s explore that a bit, and we’ll flip the coin next week.
Kick Starting the Discussion
Have you experienced times in your life like the above, where God clearly wanted to move you in a direction? How did you respond, then or later? Why? Do you think God does this? Always, sometimes, or rarely? Why might he not? I look forward to reading your thoughts, either on the site here or Facebook.