Deus ex machina.
Do you know that phrase?
I had not thought of that since high school when I first learned that it was a literary device used to move a story along. It could be used to twist the plot, to create an escape from a seemingly impossible situation or to create surprise for the reader. Literally translated as god from a machine, using this manufactured situation, the writer could then give the hero a new resource to use to solve whatever problem had befallen him, leading to a glorious outcome and, hopefully, happy ending.
I was needing some deus ex machina last week.
I had two pages of conference-related to-dos just to get through Thursday and Friday before our attendees showed up Saturday morning. I was a little anxious, wanting to have everything just so because this event is kind of big in the life of our church and I wanted it to reflect well on them and, because I am particular in general about how projects need to be run (others might say neurotic, OCD, perfectionist, and somewhat controlling, and they would be right), my personal little world was wound around the axle pretty tight.
It seemed like the universe was conspiring against me. The room reservations I’d made, confirmed, and triple confirmed? Not available when I went to pick up the keys for our speaker who was landing within the next half hour. Our musician? Unsure if she would even be able to make it because of the threat of severe weather Friday afternoon. The time I’d scheduled to do laundry so I’d have an outfit to wear? Gone because….I hate to do laundry and just didn’t do it. (Okay, that one was on me. No universal conspiracy there.) Stage rehearsal when I had committed to helping our conference chair run through some blocking? Gone because I left in a sprint after having received an urgent call from Craig telling me Travis had fallen and he feared a concussion. A vital piece of information that our committee needed so the program would run smoothly? Despite repeated requests, I still didn’t have it in my hands as the guests were filing through the worship center doors on Saturday morning.
God showed up.
He showed up with a helpful hotel manager and a hard-working maid. He showed up by keeping the winds and the deluge at bay until our musician’s flight landed. He showed up by providing a wonderful salesperson who found two outfits for me to wear in less than thirty minutes Friday afternoon. (Okay, I only needed one but I figured while He was on a roll, I’d grab the other one. Who am I to not accept ALL blessings?) He showed up by protecting Travis from harm. Yes, he had a nasty little bump on his cheek and forehead, but he didn’t need a trip to the emergency room. But most important of all, He showed up when I didn’t have that piece of information and many people were asking me for what I literally could not provide and in my deep concern, OH LET’S JUST CALL IT PANIC, I turned to Him and said, “I don’t have what I need. I need You.”
And I can just imagine His tender smile when He replied, “Finally! I know you do. Sit back and watch.”
It was complete surrender, friends. I released it to Him (it was always His, after all, and I needed to have done it sooner) and I thanked Him for what He was going to do despite my failings, and I walked into that auditorium and we began to worship. And God showed up and His presence filled the temple and the things of earth grew strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace, and nothing mattered and everything was made perfect because He was there.
Deus was there.
Inhabiting the praise of His people.
Bringing hope and encouragement to the hurting.
Showing Himself as the Great I Am.
And perfecting His plan for His Glory.
I couldn’t tell you more than a handful of things that our speaker said that day because God had a bigger word for me about His power. It’s always there for me; He’s only waiting on my dependence and acknowledgement of His strength to accomplish what He’s called me to do.
Only He can make the way where there seems to be no way.
Have a nice day.