I had a discussion with my daughter last week. She talked about how in business it is good to have a plan but you have to be ready for randomness. If you are too planned you will miss it and it might have been your greatest opportunity. She said that is what she wanted when she finishes up her graduate degree. She wants to be ready for randomness, whatever comes her way. She said, “You call that God, Mama. Others call it randomness.” This from a child who had her entire life planned out in detail!
Randomness continued throughout the week to be a theme. When it would pop back up, I would smile and shake my head thinking, “Is it really random though?” Sunday I had lunch with two friends. One I met years ago in of all places in an elevator in a hotel in Athens, Greece. We were traveling to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We were trying to avoid getting into discussions with others and revealing what we do. We wanted to truly be on vacation. Ah, but they noticed my husband’s school ring and wouldn’t you know that was where they were from as well. Then they wanted to know what we do, why we were there, etc. After revealing our identity, the question we dreaded came, “What kind of Baptist are you?” We told them. With joy they disclosed that they affirmed CBF. Really? CBF folks randomly traveling to Greece at the same time as we were and at the same hotel? They have become wonderful friends, supporters and encouragers.
A few years ago, my mother’s life slowly ebbed away as cancer spread. The hospice chaplain came to visit. The usual questions of what do I do and where do I serve and what kind of Baptist I am, ensued. Not really wanting to get into it, I just firmly stated with no explanation that I worked for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Can you believe it? She was a CBF endorsed chaplain! My parents’ home is totally off the beaten path and in an area where CBF is not known. I did not expect to find her there! We have had opportunities to collaborate since then and share vision. She too has become a wonderful friend, supporter, and encourager. Want some added randomness? It turns out these folks all knew each other and went to the same church!
What do you think? Randomness or God? Indeed, my daughter is right. I call it God. Is it random that the world is experiencing the greatest migration in history? Is it random that our schools everywhere even in small towns are experiencing the greatest diversity they have ever known? Is it random that a pastor in Tennessee has a Muslim who begins coming to his church? Is it random that a church in South Carolina begins to have Hindus coming for Wednesday night suppers? Is it random that the Curves gym in a relatively small town has veiled women coming in to work out? Is it random that you can connect with just about anyone in the world, even a someone inside a Berber tent in the desert, in a myriad of ways via technology? Acts 17:26 and 27 tells me that it is not random. God decided boundaries and times for peoples and the places where they should live. God did this that people would seek him, find him, and grope for him. After all he is not far from each one of us. And somehow God becomes more apparent as we look into the face of a stranger, or he should. Hopefully God becomes more apparent as the stranger looks into our faces, or he should. It looks random. It feels random. I guess it is God’s randomness. The thing is my daughter is right. We need to be ready for God’s randomness or we will miss it.