When God Works Overtime
Ever have something happen to you, or go through something, or run into someone only to look back on the details of it all and wonder how the heck it all came together so perfectly in the first place? That it was meant to be?
Missing that speeding car that ran the red light one second later would have annihilated you? Get fired from your dream job only to find your real dream job? How about running into that old friend you haven’t seen in years only to realize that you are the detour they needed? The coincidence in the perfect timing of it all?
One of my favorite authors Dan John wrote, “Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous”. I don’t believe in coincidence anymore and God is not anonymous.
I had been thinking of an old friend for a long time. I found some old textbooks I kept that he had written. I wondered how he was. Months went by. I found some old pictures of us on New Years Eve 2004. I wondered how he was. More months went by. I went to my wife’s workplace to take her lunch and she introduced me to one of her customers. I already knew this customer from being introduced to him over a decade earlier though he didn’t remember our brief encounter. What was coincidental was that the man who had originally introduced me to the customer was the same man I had been thinking of recently. How eerie was that? I mentioned his name and said aloud that I should really give him a call. I never did call him. God would have been frustrated with me if not for his endless patience at trying to get me to do something he wanted me to do.
Weeks went by and still no call. I was driving home from the gym with my daughter and our dog and decided to stop at Publix. I drove around a few laps of the parking lot trying to find a close visible spot. I never do that. I usually just park and walk.
As I’m heading in the entrance door a man in a recognizable red shirt is coming out. It’s a very familiar shirt because it belongs to a Police Academy Instructor. It’s familiar because I own a few myself. But it wasn’t just the shirt. It was the familiar gait. A gait I had studied many times when 12 years earlier, that gait belonged to my chemistry professor, who was at the time a part-time Sheriff’s Deputy. He’s the one I’ve been thinking of and the one I had failed to call. As he walked right by me without recognizing me, I stopped dead in my tracks. I looked at his backside and called aloud, “Mr. Jim”. It took a moment, but time and familiarity returned as if it had never left. Despite my crappy failure to reconnect, God was working overtime to make sure at that place, at that exact moment, at that Publix foyer, we would pass each other and one of us would recognize the other. I would get my opportunity to thank one of my most influential mentors in my life. To let Jim know that his influence and knowledge he bestowed on me years earlier would foster a foundation in medicine that would save many lives. Little did I know that God was placing him back in my life for a reason. The timing couldn’t have been better.
This is a long lead in to a bigger idea. The idea that God places us in positions and places to be where we need to be or do what he wants us to do, even if for a moment in time. It has taken me a long time to see this. It must be comical to God because he’s been doing it for all time. All time is a long time to play a joke, but it’s no joke. It’s intervention.
This happens pretty frequently now. People come into and out of my life with ease. Some of them make a strong impression and without saying, I know they will play a role in my life. Even those that move to Fort Collins (you know who you are). I used to fight this. I was a non-believer in God’s interventions. But after a lot of heartache and a few blows of life to the head, I now see it clearly and try not to block out the noise.
God has had a funny way to get me where I’m at today. As a Coach, God places us in people’s lives that need our intervention. To intervene in the destructive process of apathy. The intervention of choosing a quality of life instead of the inevitable miserable existence of a life filled with doctor visits and colored plastic boxes filled with little pills. My role goes way beyond what you would think a typical Coach does. Which is why I say people have no idea what we do as Coaches.
We are the sounding board at the end of a day or the start of another. We are the fixers, the listeners, and bull shit detectors. We are the believers when our clients are the un-believers. We see the best in them, even when they don’t. We see their vulnerabilities and work to strengthen their possibilities. We celebrate their victories and take their defeats home long after the gyms doors have closed. Ultimately, we can make a life changing impact in someone’s life. For that I am both grateful and humbled. This is where the coincidence decided to show up again.
As coincidence would have it, and as I was Jim’s student once, he is now my student. It is a great honor to pay forward to a man who first helped to make me a better person, only to Coach him now to become a stronger man.
But there is no coincidence. God just made it happen so perfectly when he wanted it to happen.
So for those of you that have any faith in what I’m saying, stop fighting it. You know that gut feeling that you should do something that’s been weighing on you [pun intended]. God is giving you a chance at redemption, at opportunity, at creating an alternate path because you’ve been sitting on that fence beating yourself up. You’re not worthy of succeeding.
Darkness, in any form in your life, will tell you that you will fail, that you aren’t good enough, or to not even try to change your life around. The light of the world says otherwise but you must make the sacrifice and take the first step.
It might be going back to finish school. Maybe it’s the courage to leave your job for other opportunities. Maybe it’s time to take real and meaningful steps to fix your well-being. God might be trying to tell you something and maybe you should listen. After all, if you’re reading this, maybe you really do need to work on your health. Probably not a good idea to wait for God to show up for this one.
Or maybe you should just go to Publix and hope for the best.