A Small World

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there” (Psalms 139:7,8).
I was in Crabwood Creek, Guyana, on the first day of a two week long campaign. We were canvassing the area during the day, inviting people to our tent meeting, which would be conducted each night, and trying to set up Bible studies. It was summer, and unbearably hot, so after a few hours of work, I and my co-worker went to a store across the road from our tent to enjoy a cold soft drink. Several other workers were already there, and one met me in front of the store demanding, “Come with me and let me show you something!” I resisted for a while, wanting to drink something first, but he insisted and finally I let him lead me a few yards down the road where there was a pickup truck parked with this bumper sticker on it — “You’re Ugly, And Your Mother Made You Go To Auburn!”
Of course, I am a former Auburn student and a fan, and the helpful co-worker who pointed out that literary masterpiece is a die-hard supporter of the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Crabwood Creek is at the very end of the road in Guyana, of which one can only say it is an undeveloped country. We were almost at the jumping off point of the world. What are the chances of that exact sticker being in that location at the same time that Rick and I were also there? One would think, almost none. But there we all were.
It is indeed a very small world. I am amazed at how often “coincidence” happens. I frequently meet “strangers” who turn out to have known my family or close friends. We have all heard the stories of long lost items (or people) being discovered in totally unexpected and unlikely ways.
Certainly there is such a thing as coincidence, at least in insignificant matters. But faith suggests that many such occurrences are not chance at all, but rather providence. This is our Father’s world. He “has determined [our] pre-appointed times and the boundaries of [our] existence” (Acts 17:26). He is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. Nothing is beneath his notice or beyond his care.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).
David was overwhelmed by the knowledge of God’s presence and vigilance. At times this can be frightening and oppressive. Who among us really relishes the idea that someone -? anyone -? knows our every thought and deed? There are times when we desire privacy, or even secrecy. But we are never out of God’s view. In reality, however, it is to our great good that God knows us and all that we do. He knows our needs. He strengthens us when we are weak. He lifts us up when we fall. So David concludes Psalm 139 with this prayer:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23,24).
This world is small, and that is good. We are never beyond the reach and view of God, and rarely are we completely away from God’s people. May we be comforted and strengthened by this knowledge.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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