In Sapphire, one of our favorite names for God is, “The God Who Plans Ahead.” It never ceases to amaze us how He leverages big events to put in place a dozen little pieces that He will use in a dozen other episodes, years later.
This was the case during my trip to Asia last year. God’s obvious, primary purpose was, of course, to introduce me to the concept of tracking the human spirit in the brain. That was a really big deal.
But along the way, there were sundry other things put in place that we did not register at the time. One was a visit to a Teacher city that needs to remain unnamed. While there, we ran across a strange dynamic I had seen nowhere else in the world.
Our team pondered it and felt we were allowed to make one small move in probing its malleability. After that, there was no more freedom to meddle, so I filed the unfinished problem in my bulging Spiritual Trivia file and left town wondering what all that was about!
Well, that was about Odessa, Texas!
Odessa is a Teacher city with the governmental authority to be catalytic to the Ruler gift of the Permian Basin.
When I first arrived in the city last Tuesday evening, I was immediately aware that the redemptive gift of the land was “off.” I dismissed the thought since it was not readily evident what “off” meant and hurried on to our dinner appointment in Midland. Later that evening, instead of going to bed to prepare for an intense week, a team of us returned to Odessa, exploring the difference between being in and out of city limits as well as the feeling at the heart of the city.
Suddenly it all clicked. I knew that feeling! It was the same odd dynamic from the city in Asia last year.
Obviously we left the other city with only a few scraps of information, but we put that data alongside the data we were collecting about Odessa. Slowly, over the course of six days, a tentative strategy emerged and was implemented as we returned to do land work night after night.
Time will tell whether we met the Sapphire metric of generating measurable, verifiable, sustained change in Odessa, but in the mean time, I can once again celebrate The God Who Plans Ahead.
He knew last year that I would be facing a riddle in Texas. So . . . He effortlessly provided a piece I would need in Texas while I was on a trip to the Far East.
Ya gotta love it!
Copyright July 2012 by Arthur Burk
On a retreat to one of my two most restorative pieces of Mercy land