Miriam’s 21st birthday is coming up. In celebration of this birthday, a few months ahead of time, over a dozen people helped think up gift ideas, selected items, wrote notes, bought cards and wrapped gifts. Miriam did not know any of this was going on. When it came to the day for her to receive her basket of gifts to slowly unwrap, she was pleasantly surprised. The fact is even though she did not know about it, a lot of things had been going on behind the scenes on her behalf months beforehand.
This is what God does in our lives. He is ALWAYS working behind the scenes for us (Is. 64:4), to show himself strong for us, (2 Chron. 16:9), preparing good works for us to do ahead of time (Eph. 2:10), equipping us with the skills to carry out those works (Heb. 13:21) and helping us further His kingdom. In fact, Psalms tells us He started His work in our lives when we were still in our mother’s wombs. It was then that He already had all our days written out for us. (Ps. 139).
We can see this type of God’s work in action in the book of Acts as noted in today’s verse. Peter, a faithful Jew who has followed all the laws regarding jewish purity is working with the church. In the meantime, God speaks to a gentile named Cornelius and tells him to send men to get Peter in Joppa. Peter has NO IDEA any of this is happening. He is just faithfully visiting Christians in many different towns, one of which will be Joppa. He is following his daily routine, praying when he normally prays when he suddenly has a strange dream that contradicts ALL he has learned. The dream seems to say he should accept some things he has previously been taught are “unclean”. He does not understand the dream at all. He does not understand it until the men sent by Cornelius bring him to Cornelius’ house. It is then that all the pieces fit together. Peter sees what God was showing him; that Gentiles, the “unclean”, are to be included in God’s kingdom. Cornelius, a Gentile, is told all about Jesus and he, friends and relatives are all saved. God’s plan came to completion, but in God’s own way and timing.
God gave Cornelius and Peter the information they needed at the time, and sometimes, that was all the information they got. God did not tell them the “why”’s or the “when’s” ahead of time. God was working behind the scenes, writing the “notes” in others lives, gathering “items” like Cornelius and his family, and wrapping it all up to be a surprise at just the right time! He does the same for us. The better we know God and learn to trust that His will will be perfectly completed in our lives, the easier we can rest in that. It will matter less and less whether we know all the other pieces or not. I wonder what God is orchestrating for you and I right now that we have no idea about?