This morning I was reading the story of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dreams. Like all of Joseph's story it's saturated with providence. God saves Egypt through dreams given to a Pharaoh who did not know God... and Joseph just happens to be a dream interpreter. After Joseph gives his interpretation he tells Pharaoh that he needs to designate someone to implement a response to his dream, Looking at Joseph, Pharaoh says, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38)
In my study bible that number '' linked to a note that says, "or... of the gods". The biblical interpreters decided to make Pharaoh a believer in one 'God' (perhaps to keep it theologically simple for the reader). But I think a more theologically complex choice would have been more beautiful. The thought of God working his will through a non-believing Pharaoh's dreams that were interpreted by a man who Pharaoh thought was given wisdom by Egyptian gods is deeply compelling. God''s providence is so sure of itself that it does not need overt recognition. God is so providentially at work in the world that most of his work goes totally unseen. "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen." (Psalm 77:9)
Over the past few months, I've actually seen God's providence at work via the coming together of this new church — finding a Google job posting that the church thought they'd taken down, meeting a small remnant community that was totally open to embracing a new vision, receiving and accepting a call within a month, with room for me to write and teach, in Calgary (so that nothing has to change for our family). And now God has drawn two top notch leaders into the fold — Ambrose University student Dan Lee as music leader and Rev. Michelle Gritter to preach 25% of the time (for the first year) on the psychology of being human. I'll tell you more about each of them in a future post, but for now, know that these two are "way more than I thought we'd ever be able to get".
Through all of this God is renewing my spirit and strengthening my vision. I keep sensing that this church will be a place where people can learn how to engage God's presence everywhere for themselves (and not just with me doing it on Sundays). I know that the only way this can happen is through a deep communal experience of the loving presence of God. This love is growing in me.
All this to say that God is providentially at work building this new church — in more ways than any of us can see.
(New church services start on Feb 2, 9:30 am, 1638-30th ave SW)