Friday, December 17, 2010

More of God's Providence


It's fascinating how God showers us with His providential care each day. I realized this again yesterday as I was riding around in a UPS package car.

Thursday was my second day working as a UPS "Driver Helper." I enjoyed my time with the first driver on Wednesday but was switched to a different driver for the second day. As I began to talk with this second driver, it became clear that he is a Christian. Not only that, he is a solid Christian who enjoys talking about the things of God.

When you work in a package car with someone there is quite a bit of time to talk between stops. This gave Neal (his name) and me several hours to talk about who God is, how wonderful He is, and what He is doing in our lives. As we discussed theology, I discovered that Neal is Reformed. This led to great discussions of God's sovereignty and providence. We also talked about many good authors past and present such as Augustine, Edwards, Packer, Sproul, Piper, etc.

At some point I asked what church family Neal is a part of. I'm always concerned about the answer because it tells a lot about what the person probably believes about the gospel. I was relieved and happy to find out that Neal is a part of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah. IPC is a biblically-sound church with a very high view of the majesty and sovereignty of God.

Since IPC follows a traditional church model, there are obviously aspects of church life where Neal and I most likely differ in opinion. I didn't see the point in pursuing that line of conversation yesterday. I did, however, explain to him my current situation. Instead of condemning the traditional church model, I simply told him that for reasons of conscience I needed to leave my pastoral position, get into the regular workforce, and begin gathering with other believers in our home as we see in scripture.

Neal and I were also able to share real prayer requests with one another. He has his struggles as I have mine. This went far beyond "Please pray for the missionaries" to real life issues.

The best part in all this is that we were able to build one another up in Christ. I'm reminded that edification takes place not just when the church gathers for a scheduled meeting, but at all times in all places. Ephesians 4:29 comes to mind, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

In a few hours I will get back in the package car for another round of deliveries. Neal and I will be together again today. I'm not sure what will happen, but I do know who the main topic of our conversation will be: our glorious Lord Jesus. Praise God for His providence!

8 comments:

runningwillis said...

"Instead of condemning the traditional church model, I simply told him that for reasons of conscience I needed to leave my pastoral position, get into the regular workforce, and begin gathering with other believers in our home as we see in scripture."

This is very encouraging - I'm happy to read it. May the Lord bless your time with Neal and on the truck.

Eric said...

running,

I may discuss church model issues with Neal but I doubt it. If he brings it up, I'm going to try my best to answer graciously (always somewhat of a challenge). I'm just thankful that the Lord has seen fir to place me in a truck with a strong Christian.

Thanks.

Jason_73 said...

Hey Eric,

I saw this video and thought you would enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9dpmp_-TY0&feature=player_embedded#

Very powerful testimony.

Aussie John said...

Eric,

I trust you will get an opportunity to tell Neal the why's and wherefores of your convictions, and the charted reasons for your change of course to that of which you have been convicted.

It has been my experience, over the last 60 or so years, that changes of course are often necessary when the chart that God provides indicates the wisdom of course correction.

I'm always amazed, and sometimes amused, by the attitudes of those who read the chart differently don't realize they have become becalmed in the status quo, or stuck on the reef of tradition because they didn't follow the chart the Captain provided.

More often than not, they have only perused the Chart and sail on trusting someone else's interpretation of the Captains expertise.

Eric said...

Jason,

Thanks. I'll take a look.

Eric said...

John,

I hope we can talk about that. However, I'm going to be slow and methodical about it. I know that Neal holds a high view of scripture, so we'll just see what happens.

Eric said...

Eric,

I see you have "corrected" your speech (UPS has no "trucks"). ;) I honestly couldn't believe the Dale Jarrett commercials a few years back. UPS is that fanatical about not using the word "truck".

UPS is a company I left over matter of principle in my past (It wasn't about "trucks"). I was in plant engineering, but had to sling a few boxes too. A day on the old jump seat ain't bad, though it can be physically tough. Much more peaceful than the belly of the beast - keep that in mind if you are tempted to become a part-timer. I'm thankful you found some work with them. This week will be tough - lots of volume. I appreciate your approach with Neal. It is sometimes tough to have conversations when you start at "where do you go to church?" and you don't believe the church is a building. I know you have already experienced that your place of understanding isn't something you can explain in an hour. It takes time. Your next post reference (2 Tim. 3) speaks to using complete patience and teaching. I hope that you and Neal can continue to encourage one another after your helper assignment is done.

Eric said...

Eric,

I hope Neal and I can continue our relationship after this week. We seem to have several thing sin common, so I'm hoping that will help. As for church issues, I'm just kind of going with the flow of the conversation. I'm not going to make it a big issue.