I’ve been in ministry a number of years now and every once in a while I hear a term that fascinates me. Several years ago, I heard that as I retired I would become a PIP – a “previously important person.” I had to laugh and since then, over time, I have come to understand the term and its implications. And the person was so right – I have had to become comfortable with getting fewer calls, being asked my opinion fewer times and realizing that the next generation is coming up and taking over the leadership responsibilities of so many businesses and organizations.
Last week I heard another interesting term. In fact, it’s the title of tonight’s post – a “HUAG.” The backstory is quite simple. Years ago, Roger, a ministry partner, and I travelled to Oklahoma City for the purpose of attending a seminar that dealt with the topic of fundraising. We were in the process of determining whether we would depend on donations or if we would charge a modest amount for our career transition services. The program was taught by a man who was known throughout the world as a wonderful fundraiser and had even written a well known book on the topic. We spent several days together and I ended up making a donation to his ministry.
Since then, his travels have taken him across the globe and every several months we receive an update on what is going on with fundraising programs around the world. His last newsletter, that I received last week, highlighted the term “HUAG” – “Highly Unlikely Acts of God.” He went on to explain unanticipated things that had happened and could only be divine interventions.
But the more I thought about his newsletter, the more I disagreed with the term he used. I am very fond of the man – and respect all that he has done, but for some reason I have been drawn to thinking about his comments on “HUAGs.” And many of you may disagree with what I have come up with.
The longer I spend time in ministry and the longer I work on my own relationship with the Lord of the universe, the more I realize that there aren’t many highly unlikely acts of God. It seems to me that if you live your life expecting miracles, accepting that God extends grace and mercy, it stands to reason that nothing is impossible, or even unexpected, for God. I can think of countless times when God has come through for me. Early in my faith life, I wouldn’t have noticed that these things were of God, but the more mature I become in my faith, the more I accepted, with thanksgiving, the times I noticed God’s handiwork.
Recently, within the last several weeks, both Janet and I have clearly witnessed at least several of God’s interventions in our lives. Sometimes, and we don’t take them for granted, we have so many things to share that we can’t remember every time we notice God at work. That’s because God is active in our lives every day – in fact, every moment. The trick is to become aware and to look for evidences of the Lord in the everyday issues of our lives. That’s when the unlikely occurrences become anticipated – and welcomed.
The core reason for these interventions is that God loves us. He desires to be in community with us and and his unlimited grace and mercy are part of His unique nature. Paul, in his statements to the young pastor, Timothy, reminds us in our verse for this evening about the awesome nature of God. Paul tells us, in 1 Timothy 1:14-17, “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Notice that Paul, at the end of his statement, actually breaks into worship and is overcome by thoughts of God. The last line is actually a benediction, a blessing, as Paul openly praises the Father and His Son. My encouragement tonight is that God bestows his patience, grace and mercy on all of His children. My prayer is that we all will notice God in our lives each day and realize that the “unlikely” will become “very likely” as we live our lives expecting miracles. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…