I began work as your Executive Minister, just over a year ago, and last week was the one-year anniversary of our moving into our house here. In the shadow of these mile markers, I have been giving some thought to the past year and how we ended up here.
My mother–in-law is prone to say when reflecting upon life that “things just work out.” If you know her, you know that she doesn’t mean exactly what she is saying; there is a subtext. She is a person of abiding Christian faith who knows most of the stories in the Bible and can actually tell you where to find them—book and chapter. So when she comments “things just work,” you know she is not saying that we are simply victims of the vagaries of historical accident. Someone is working them out; that is what she means. She sees the hand of God in the daily rhythm of our days. As I look over the past year in the life of the Kelsey family, I have to say: “Things just work out.” I believe that God brought us to New York. This is not simply good fortune, a lucky break. God has planted us here. Thus we are stewards of the opportunities and life that we have found in this place.
Don’t take this too far, I don’t believe everything that happens in the world is God’s will. Paul wrote: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). This does not necessarily mean that God causes all things or that God wills all things. It does mean that God can redeem all things to serve some good purpose. A good bit of what happens in this world can be chalked up to human beings making poor choices. We broke the world a long time ago, and some day will set aright anew. For now it is something less than what God wills. Jesus warned us to be careful about drawing too direct a line between what happens in this world and the guilt of those to whom it happens (Luke 13:1-5).
There are times, however, when we sense that God has been at work in some particular way in some particular place at some particular time. I feel that as I look over the last year. Our lives are held in the hands of a loving God. I am so convinced of this.
Things just work out. We say that with a knowing nod because we believe that there is One who is working out some of those things in our lives.