Pastor Cal's
Weekly Epistle

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column
for the Spirit Page of
the Norwich Bulletin.

He also sends it out to
members and friends of
the church via e-mail.

E-mail him at
calstigers@gmail.com if
you want to be added to
the weekly list.
Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
God Has Got Your Back                     April 24, 2013

Dear friends,

John Lennon once said that "life is what happens when you are busy making other
plans." I can testify to the truth of that statement. While I was busy making final
preparations to leave on a short term mission trip with a group from church,
everything got turned upside down with my wife's visit to the retinal specialist.

At 5:00 p.m. on the eve of my departure she was told that she had to go into the
hospital for emergency surgery and would be incapacitated for at least a week.
Suddenly the situation that we thought we had under control took on a life of its
own. In other words, "Life happened!"

Needless to say, I didn't leave with the group on Tuesday morning. I stayed with
Lori to help prep for her upcoming surgery. The decision wasn't an easy one
though. I was the Mission team's leader and the person with the most experience. I
had made all the arrangements and more importantly, I had the church credit card
to take care of planned and unplanned expenses.

I was between a rock and a hard place. As I prayed for wisdom, I suddenly saw that
God had everything under control. Even though this was my first mission trip with
my new congregation, five of the eight had been on mission trips before. It was a
veteran team. On Monday night it began to make sense.

While I was busy making plans, God had been at work preparing for the
contingencies of life. God had put this team together with the ability to function
without me. They had the leaders, the temperament and the skills to make it a
successful trip. They even had another pastor along. My friend, Matt, had signed
on with the hopes of leading a team of his own in the future. Little did we know that
his future was now.

So I sent the team off with my prayers and then turned my attention back to Lori
and her needs. I had cleared my schedule to make room for the mission trip and it
meant I was now free to do what was needed with Loris' after care. Imagine that!

We often wonder where God is when "life happens." Those unexpected
emergencies and unplanned calamities leave us shaken. Sometimes up is down and
down is up. I think that is why we don't see God. We are looking in the wrong place
and wondering why our plans didn't go as expected. Yet God was quietly working in
the background, planning for every contingency that life could offer up.

Praise God! When life happens we can trust him. I think that is what the apostle
Paul was implying when he said "All things work together for good for those who
love the Lord."  So next time you find yourself in a place you didn't expect, look
around and I believe you will find that God has been there ahead of you.

God bless. See you in church. Cal