God is Working Even When we Can’t See It
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
This is a story I am eager to tell. I am hoping it will inspire you to acknowledge the many ways God is working in your life behind the scenes. God is a worker. He worked to create this world and continues to work to sustain it. By His grace, He chooses to use us when we don’t deserve it and when we least expect it. He often uses us to guide others without us even knowing that we are a small yet significant part of His plan.
I recently learned that 30 years ago as a U.S. Army Recruiter, God used me to bless someone. This touched me deeply, as I have always labeled this assignment as a season of failure. (I shared about this experience in an article I wrote on my blog.) For the very first time, I saw God bring something positive from my worst assignment in my Army career. This is a three-dimensional example of God working all things out for the good of both of us.
Out of the blue in late July, my brother in Christ contacted me through a social media message. He identified himself as someone I had recruited when he was a high school senior. He told me, “You made a significant impact on me. I still have a Bible verse with a note on the back of it from back then.” I was blown away by this and sent him a reply.
He reached out to me again this week. He sent a photo of the card I had given him before he left for basic training. I was curious how God had guided his decision to join the Army. I wondered about his Army experience. I was eager to catch up on three decades of life. We agreed to do a video chat yesterday morning. Here is a summary of what we discussed.
He remembered that I led an Army physical fitness training session in gym class at his school, which I had forgotten about. He said I was there at the right time and place, since he had already decided to serve in the military for a few reasons, one of them being it was a family tradition.
Although he was raised in a Christian home, this decision to join was not influenced by his faith. However, shortly before he shipped out for training, he had surrendered to Jesus Christ as his Lord, which helped him to make good choices when he was far from home.
He told me where he was stationed for the next two and a half years before he got out at the end of his three-year enlistment. It was a post where I had also been and it was where he met his wife. They are still married and have raised a beautiful family together.
I got the impression that joining the Army was the good fit for him. It got his adult life off to a good start. He learned much about leadership and discipline, which helped him succeed in his current career. As a young Christian Soldier, I know God used him to minister to countless others, as he lived out and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ through words and actions.
This time of fellowship with my brother in Christ was an encouragement to me. I am grateful that he took time to reach out just to let me know that God used me to make a difference in his life. It felt good to know that I had a small part in his story by being his recruiter. Mostly, I was blessed to see that God had worked in both of our lives through this connection.
The people that God loves through us are divine appointments. There is always purpose in every single encounter we have. We may or may not see it right away. We may not see the impact of our faithful work for 30 years or more. We may never see or hear about it. But do not forget that God’s work is never wasted, and neither is your work done for His glory.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Russell E. Gehrlein holds a B.S from Colorado State University and an M.A. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. A retired Master Sergeant, he continues to serve the U.S. Army in a civilian capacity. He and his wife of 43 years live in Missouri and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. To discover more of his work please visit Reflections on Theological Topics of Interest.