Albert Einstein observed that coincidence was God’s way of remaining anonymous. An 18th century English hymn speculates that God moves in mysterious ways. These quotes have a special meaning to me and a place in my faith journey.
As a young father with a busy career, I began to question if God had an additional purpose for my life. Attending the Palmer Men’s Bible study and another small one with business colleagues, I prayed for guidance. After praying for several years for an answer, and hearing nothing but silence, I concluded it was not yet time for me to know. Having been denied an answer to this question, I asked Him to tell me, at least, if I was on the right path. In His own personal and unique way, He confirmed that I was.
In the early 90’s , I received a call from Palmer asking if I would be interested in teaching a Bible study to our Way Station guests. Having only cursory knowledge of the Bible and no real desire to spend time with this population, I politely declined.
A short time later, while browsing through the Bible, I came across Luke 4:18 which says “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” The passage caught my attention in light of the Church’s request a few days earlier. However, as most of us would do, I chalked it up to coincidence.
I was still thinking about this coincidence when I received a call from a college friend who had just read a passage in the Bible that he felt might be meaningful to me. I thought this was strange because we had never shared a passage from scripture. He said the passage was Luke 4:18. Stunned, and realizing this was no coincidence, I called the Church and told them I would love to teach their Bible study to the homeless. If this story seems incredulous to you, imagine how it felt to me.
I began working and teaching at the Way Station with our most downtrodden citizens. I don’t understand the process, but gradually, over time, I have come to love them. God was now starting to reveal His plan for my life. In the years since, I have been involved in some way with our most marginalized citizens. I presently volunteer at the Work Faith Connection and the Open Door Mission. Both organizations are very different, but their core mission is to help people reclaim their lives and to be reassimilated into society.
Over these many years, God has revealed that helping the most marginalized folks make it through life was His plan for me. It has been a rich, exciting and mysterious adventure to see how the living God is working in my life. It has brought me much closer to Him and to my fellow man. For this, I am very grateful.
John A. Fields