At a meeting on how to attract more customers in our direct-selling business, one woman shared her strategy: to be in the right place at the right time. I thought, yes, but that is easier said than done. I’ve been in the right place a few times, like when I was walking along the beach in Australia and just happened to fall in with a group of people who had spotted some whales. A few days before I saw a kookaburra, which my Australian friends told me was a rare sight.
Wouldn’t you love to always be in the right place at the right time? Sometimes it happens by chance, sometimes it’s an answer to prayer, but it’s not something we can plan or control.
When those coincidences do happen, some attribute them to an alignment of the stars; others just call it luck. Believers like to use the term God-incidence when they feel God was clearly involved. A God-incidence can be any situation where it seems God has brought either people or circumstances together for good. If we read Romans 8:28 correctly, this describes the whole of life.
This well known, but sometimes misunderstood verse doesn’t necessarily mean everything that happens is managed or controlled by God. But it does mean we can look for a good result even from the most difficult or even tragic events in life.
When Jesus died on the cross, his followers wondered how any good could come of that horrible turn of events. Some of the disciples went back to fishing, resigned to the conclusion that this was the end of Jesus and all he came to do. For those three days between the crucifixion and the resurrection, all seemed lost. But as they discovered, and we now know, it wasn’t the end. It was only the beginning.
God, of course, had always planned for good to come out of what looked like an impossible situation, and it was more than a coincidence or even a God-incidence. This was God’s plan from the beginning. The whole of history up until then led to this fulcrum event, as part of God’s grand plan of love and redemption.
Jesus was in the right place at the right time and because he was, we also are in the right place at the right time. We are right where he wants us to be. In and through him, we are safe in the circle of Father, Son and Spirit, loved and redeemed by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. We don’t have to wonder if our lives will have counted. No matter how hopeless the circumstances surrounding us, all will indeed work together for good in the end, because he loves us.
Just as the women and the disciples despaired during those three dark days, we sometimes wallow in despair for ourselves or for others whose lives seem to hold no hope. But God will wipe away every tear and give us the happy ending we all want—all because Jesus was in the right place at the right time.
Tammy Tkach, 2012