To be ‘set up’ is usually not a good thing unless it’s God’s set up. First, let’s devine what it means to be ‘set up’.
It’s A Set Up
Imagine you’re taking a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago. A stranger approaches you outside the terminal. She tells you that her grandmother has just taken a flight to Chicago and will arrive an hour ahead of you. Unfortunately, grannie left her medicine, which she needs to take before nightfall or she’ll die. The medicine is so rare that it would take several days for her to get a new prescription. “Here’s $100,” she says as she presses a role of money into your hand. “You can save grannie’s life by taking this on the flight with you and delivering it to her when you arrive in Chicago. I’ll call ahead and tell her to meet you outside the terminal in Chicago.”
By now, tears have welled up in your eyes and you promise to deliver the prescription to her. You are so moved with compassion that you give the money back to the worried granddaughter as you slip the bottle of ‘medicine’ in your pocket and rush off to catch your flight.
Of course, airport surveillance has captured this entire exchange.
When you arrive in Chicago and walk toward the exits to find grannie, you pass the throng of chauffeurs holding up signs bearing names of arrivals. You’re surprised to see a chauffeur holding a placard bearing your name. As you curiously approach, you notice something a little different about him. He’s wearing a badge.
You’ve been set up.
It’s God’s Set Up
Now imagine you are grannie traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago. No one yet realizes it, but you forgot and left medicine in your granddaughter’s medicine cabinet. You board the aircraft and are seated on the isle next to a young man of foreign descent. For the first few minutes of the flight, you lean away from him until you get smacked several times in the head by the food carts rolling down the narrow isle. Since he is polite enough to ask if you would like to exchange seats with him, you strike up a conversation.
You learn about his business, his wife and children. Eventually, he tells you about his Savior, Jesus. You’ve heard about Him; indeed you tell him, “I’m a Christian too.” You two have such a good time talking about God that you are surprised to hear the captain announce that you’ll soon land in Chicago.
“Before we depart,” the young man says, “is there anything I can pray with you about?”
“Actually there is,” says grannie. She tells you about the rare illness she’s been stricken with.
The young man gently takes grannie’s hand and quietly asks God to heal her.
Grannie thanks and hugs the young man in the baggage claim area as they go their separate way.
Later that evening, safe and sound in her condo, grannie realizes that it’s time to take her medicine. As she looks through all her luggage without any sign of the medicine, panic starts to set in. Then a peace overcomes her and a still small voice within her asks, “Don’t you believe I heard your prayers?”
Grannie realizes that it was God’s set up for her to be seated next to the young man. She lives many more years, free from the ailment that had her bound to pharmaceutical drugs.
Sidewalk Set Up
Today (1-19-13), I painted en plein air on the corner of Holly Ave. and Marengo St. in Pasadena, CA. My subject was the First Baptist Church of Pasadena.
I talked to several people who stopped to see what I was doing. I also passed out Talent Search Tracts to others. However, it wasn’t until I had finished the painting and was packing up when a man approached. I paused to see if he would stop, which he did. We chatted for a while. I noticed that he was wearing a lovely silver crucifix. When I asked him if the One on the cross was also in his heart, he began to explain how good Jesus had been to him and his family.
I had gone out to encourage others in the Lord, yet I was the one being encouraged. We had a great time of fellowship on that sidewalk. We both acknowledged that we were both a part of God’s set up even though we had gone there for different reasons.