It’s always a surprise. What happens under the surface happens in a place we cannot see...until it suddenly reveals itself. Sometimes the surprise is depressing. (Son… you have high blood pressure…) Sometimes it’s scary. (Like Jason coming up out of the lake with a knife in his hand… I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.) Sometimes it is absolutely amazing. (Like when a friendship grows into a deep love.) But there is one thing they all share…we don’t see it coming.
I think God loves to work under the surface and surprise us in amazing ways. His work in our life is internal as much as it is external. God works on the heart, the attitude, and as much as the actions and results. And when we see all of them come together at once – it appears amazing to us, but God has been at work in them for a long time. We see the action and the results. We don’t always get to see what God does to orchestrate the amazing.
Josh Rooker, one of our newer members, is a campus minister for InterVarsity. He works on the Oakland University and Macomb Community College campuses. He had approached us to financially support the work there. At the time, we didn’t have extra money to share. But recently, we lost one of our local outreach partners and it freed up some funds. Under the surface, Josh had been praying for the chance to get onto another college campus in the area, but the funds were not there yet. As he was meeting with InterVarsity to talk about what it would take to expand, he received an e-mail from MCC saying we had picked him up as a local outreach partner. The timing was something only God could orchestrate. He was working under the surface to make something amazing happen. And now students on another campus will get a chance to hear the gospel and join a Bible study.
Our mission partners in Ghana, Austin and Amanda Ganyo, planned a children’s outreach into the country of Tamale. They walked the neighborhoods of a heavily Islamic area. Along with their interns and volunteers from a local church, they hoped for the best, but wondered if these Muslim parents would allow their children to come. Here’s what they said happened. "Amazingly, we had a fantastic turnout on Saturday morning with over 250 children in attendance! While we hadn’t exactly expected or planned for that many children, we were so happy they came, and we had the opportunity to share Jesus with them. The kids sang songs, listened to a Bible lesson, did crafts, played games, and even had a take away lunch prepared by several of the ladies in our church. While at times it was simply organized chaos, we are so thankful for the opportunity our church had to impact our community." God was at work under the surfaceto something greater than they planned.
Our Baptism service was amazing. The first few weeks we talked about it, no one responded. As the day got closer, we ended up with 12 who were ready for that day, and a few that needed to wait a little longer. On the Thursday before, I got a phone call from a man who wanted to talk to me about being baptized. He had been attending our church for over four years. I was excited to sit down and hear his story. There was a lot of thinking and issues that he had been working though in his personal faith. While on the outside, we didn’t understand why he was waiting, God was doing something underneath the surface. And it wasn’t just him. I talked to another man who had traveled all the way from Kentucky to see a lifelong friend be baptized. He claims they have been friends for over 30 years. What we celebrated on the outside in just under 50 minutes, God had been working on for years to make happen. Just under the surface. God is at work in our world in amazing ways.
And this is why it is so important that we join him. The simple things we do. The simple encouragements. The good deeds. The random acts of kindness. We have no idea when they become part of the larger picture of what God has been doing in people… just under the surface.
Keep up the good work, and we will see you on Sunday.