Part of a Bigger Plan
By Jesse Carey
CBN.com Interactive Media Producer
A major US airline announces a promotion that offers travelers an all-you-can fly deal for a period of 30 days.
A child in a remote part of Zambia is given the opportunity to attend school for the first time thanks to the efforts of local missionaries.
A person logs onto their profile page during their lunch break and shares a link on his Twitter.
From the surface, these stories may seem like completely unrelated events. Most likely, the airline executives in a boardroom coming up with a price-point for their marathon trip offer had no knowledge of a school in Zambia reaching out to children in need. And, it’s just as likely (if not more), that the child in Zambia, attending school for the first time, had any concept of JetBlue’s all-you-can fly deal. They are almost literally two entirely different worlds.
And somewhere between the two, are people in their offices, dorm rooms and on their computers in their homes, reading about a bigger story and deciding to make a difference.
I've always loved non-traditional narratives—movies and books whose plots play out in non-linear, often fractured ways. From Citizen Kane (told through a series of non-sequential flashbacks) to Crash (depicting the seemingly unrelated events that all tie together in the end to showcase the power of racial biases), these types of stories challenge our notion of how our actions affect others—and ultimately ourselves.
From a secular perspective, looking at how the chain of causation can unite people almost takes on a mystical quality. Films such as Babel, 21 Grams or the aforementioned Crash, all depict people from different walks of life, indirectly altering each others’ lives through actions that don’t seem related. What’s unique about these films is they’re told in a way (through jump-cuts, flashbacks, and fractured storylines), that are able to showcase how people are connected whether they realize it or not.
But, without the knowledge (or acknowledgement) of God, these stories simply show the random cause-and-effect nature of decisions and actions. Because they are Hollywood stories, it almost seems like there is an unseen force uniting people through choices that are made because of our common humanity. By not acknowledging or attempting to explain why what we do matters, the stories also tend to show a random nature of life. Without God, we are all just cogs in a massive mechanical wheel of causation and chance.
However, the Christian is able to understand the greater truth. The Bible is clear that we serve a powerful God that is active in our lives—especially when we invite Him in. The book of Genesis tells one of the earliest versions of a plot-twisting narrative that showcases the divine—not accidental—way that God can orchestrate events to happen and unite people’s experiences.
Envious of their father’s favor toward him, Joseph’s brothers faked his death and sold him into slavery. That event set off an epic chain of events that altered not only the life of Joseph, but the entire empire of Egypt—it also reunited his family. (If you’ve never read Joseph’s story, I encourage you to read Genesis 37-50.)
Here is a quick summary: After being forced into slavery, Joseph became a favored servant in the house of a high-ranking official. The official’s wife attempted to seduce him, but when he rejected her advances, she plotted to have him imprison. In prison, he gained the favor of the warden, and met many other prisoners, and was able to interpret their dreams. One of the other prisoners, a former butler for the ruler, remembered Joseph’s wisdom years later when he was once again working for Pharaoh. Needing advice about a dream, the king summoned Jacob from prison, and sought his interpretation—to which Joseph told him a time of prosperity followed by a famine would come. Joseph soon became a ruler of Egypt because of his wisdom, and when the famine arrived, all other nations came to Egypt to purchase grain which Joseph had advised them to store. Joseph’s brothers were among those who came to buy food, and the family was eventually reunited.
It’s an amazing story—one that rivals anything Hollywood has ever told. The key to understanding its significance is in what Joseph says to his brothers after a lifetime has passed and their devious actions caused such an unforeseeable outcome. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20, NIV).
For the unbeliever, Joseph’s life is simply another remarkable story—one that came out of good fortune, chance and simple random luck. But, the Christian is able to echo the statement of Joseph—God intended it for good.
So, what does the child in Zambia, the JetBlue all-you-can-fly deal, and people on social networking sites have in common? As you may have assumed, they aren’t just random.
Gil and Ronda Krause are missionaries in Africa who operate a school and boarding house in a remote part of Zambia. CBN’s Orphan’s Promise helps support them and the school. Their son recently bought a ticket for special promotion being offered through JetBlue airlines that allows travelers to take unlimited flights for a period of 30 days (from Sept. 9 – Oct. 9) for $599. He’ll be visiting 24 cities in 30 days. In an effort to raise funds and awareness about for his parent’s school, Greg Krause launched an eBay auction offering to be a “walking-billboard” by wearing a T-Shirt with a logo on it for the entire journey for the highest bidding company. All of the money from the winning bid would go directly toward the purchase of a truck to help transport the children to school safely.
Orphan’s Promise made the winning bid, and is going even further to help raise the funds. Along with wearing the T-Shirt, Greg Krause and Orphan’s Promise have set up a page on my.CBN.com that allows anyone to learn about the project and give directly toward the truck. On Greg’s my.CBN.com profile and personal blog 30daysonjetblue.com, he’ll be posting pictures and updates from the road.
By sharing his story and posting links on your Twitter and Facebook pages to GregsGreatRace.com, you’ll be helping Orphan’s Promise and Greg raise the money to buy a truck to help children in Zambia get to school. You will be a part of a much bigger story; one that will be have a powerful impact on people you may never even meet.
It may all sound like a random series of events, but looking a little bit closer, it’s nothing less than a divine plan.
Support Greg and Orphan's Promise at GregsGreatRace.com
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Check out Jesse's Blog, The Morning Five
Jesse Carey is the Interactive Media Producer for CBN.com. With a background in entertainment and pop-culture writing, he offers his insight on music, movies, TV, trends and current events from a unique perspective that examines what implications the latest news has on Christians.
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