by Tad Lindley
We had to switch boats and destinations due to mechanical issues. I knew of a closer little lake to go to, but I figured somebody would already be camped in there. Glory to God, when we got there, there was not a soul. We set up camp and my wife made dinner. Then the unthinkable happened, another boat putted in and set up camp about 200 yards from us! My blood pressure shot up.
I went out in the boat to calm down and just sat on the water and did a little bit of calling to see if there was anything in the neighborhood. Sure enough, I could hear the rustle of antlers in the willows. Not a mad bull, but a feeding bull, maybe two. I figured if I could wake up ahead of our new neighbors maybe I could be ready.
Sure enough I was up ahead of the other tent, and I started to idle over to where the moose were the night before. As I was almost there, a boat came in from the main river straight toward me. My best laid plans were completely ruined. I don’t use swears since receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, but I could see where some guys might have said swears in that situation. I turned my boat around 180º and headed toward the dead end direction of the lake.
What God knew and I didn’t was that in the night the moose had swum across the lake to the other side, and as we putted away from my best laid plans, a heard a voice call to me through the fog, “Owwwwgh!” I looked for the voice, and there he was, a young bull standing there beneath a birch tree.
Positioned by irritation
If I had been allowed to let things unfold according to my plans, we would have been meatless. Instead the Lord used people to frustrate my best laid plans, and put me right where I would be successful. How many more times in my life has God used frustrating situations to thwart my intentions and put me in a position to receive a blessing? If I curse my situation, if I curse the people around me, I am actually cursing God; I am saying that I know exactly how my life is supposed to unfold.
Romans 8:28 tells us, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. “All things” includes not just the things that fall out according to our wishes and our plans. “All things” includes frustrating and even painful things. “All things” includes people who might not be polite or considerate to us. But God is able to use just such circumstances to bring about good in our lives.
Pain in the neck
The apostle Paul understood this very clearly when he wrote, So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. (II Corinthians 2:17 NLT) The apostle had some frustrating physical weakness that he would not have chosen for himself, but he recognized that God had allowed it to happen so that in the end he might be an even greater servant in the kingdom of God.
Next time people around you irritate you and frustrate you, instead of cursing your circumstances look at it like this: God must be positioning me for a greater blessing. Just last week when I set up my camp spot for moose hunting I noticed that somebody came after me and set up a tent on the same meadow system. They didn’t stay in their tent overnight as I do, just put it there early and didn’t show up again until the night before. At first I was upset about it, but then I remembered that sometimes God can use people to influence the course of your life. I realized that this must be God’s way of getting us to be somewhere else so that he could bless us, and that’s exactly how it came to pass. Instead of a long meadow pack, he had one waiting for us a mere stone’s throw from the boat!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.