Our Amazing God at Work
by Andy Cokayne 1 September 2020
About two weeks ago, Karen and I realised we could do with a few cards, a book, and some bible reading notes. With the Bible and Book shop in Derby closed, then when we are in the area, we call at the one in Matlock. We were at home and it was mid-morning on Thursday, we debated whether the shop would be open or not, and remembered that we had called in about 2 months ago, and although they had reduced opening hours, we were sure they were now normally open Monday to Saturday, so with it being a Thursday it would be open. Should we try the website we thought, but will it be up to date, was the question in our minds. We then discussed whether there was any other reason to go all that way, or whether we would be better calling in, when we were next in the area. But we made the decision that although it was a long way to go, just for the shop, we would make a day of it and go. So with confidence we set off.
We had some dinner on the way, and early in the afternoon arrived at the shop, “Looks a little closed!” I remarked, “And the lights are off!” Karen replied. Unperturbed we tried the door, to find to our amazement, the door locked. “You’re joking!” were my first words. “What a waste of a day” was Karen’s reply. While waiting on the shop steps we both remarked, “All this way for nothing” and then of course the inevitable analysis “Who’s idea was this anyway?”
We both walked away in disgust, and not a little frustrated. I was determined that we would not get caught like this again, so I went back and took a picture of the opening hours on my phone.
While re-reading the opening hours, again, and making sure I had a clear picture, a chap in his 40’s, his wife, and young daughter approached the shop, looked at the opening hours and remarked how frustrating that it was closed. We exchanged a few more remarks, he then asked if we had come far. We then engaged in conversation, it turned out that he had previously been engaged in a “criminal enterprise” in Birmingham, were his words, but they had moved away and were now living in the Long Eaton area. He gave a short summary of how he had come to faith, and that they now went to an Anglican church, that he felt called to the Anglican ministry to be a Prison Chaplain, and he was currently candidating for the ministry. However he was concerned firstly that he was not an academic, and secondly that he had to go through the BAP (Bishop’s Advisory Panel) process. As we explained that our son David had been through the same process just over 3 years ago, the eyes of him and his wife lit up. A BAP is an assessment process that is quite intense, and takes place over a period of months, to determine whether you are deemed suitable for the ministry. We explained that our son too was not an academic; that he had had to study at a college in London, and did not find it easy; had gone through ‘On the Job Training’ for the ministry, which was more suited to him, rather than going into full time university study. When they heard this they were overjoyed. He exclaimed that our God works in amazing ways, which we echoed. We both agreed that our meeting was no coincidence, but a God incidence. We exchanged mobile numbers and left, amazed at what God had done in bringing us together.
We came to the shop at the same time, and were frustrated at it being closed, but both families left encouraged and marveled at how God could do such amazing things, in bringing us together like he had, and for such ordinary people as us.
God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. So reads a verse of William Cowper’s hymn written in 1774.
God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident. God is working his purposes out.
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