During the Runners' Church Spring 2023 Eastern Tour, I became keenly aware of God's maestro orchestration of people, places, and things to bring about His will (for lack of a better way to put it). To illustrate, let me try to list out a series of improbablistic events that are mathematically impossible to chalk up to random occurence.
In April, I went to my VMI Class of '83 40th reunion. During one of the socials, I was talking to a classmate, Warren Groseclose, I'd not spoken to for 40 years. When I asked him where he hung his hat these days, he responded he lived in Roanoke (just down I-81 from VMI and Lexington, VA). I told him I was going to Roanoke to run the Blue Ridge Double Marathon (BRDM) the following weekend. Warren broke into a huge smile, and says, "Mark, the course runs literally right in front of my house."
Long story short, I got to stay with them a few days; and then, Warren was out on the tailgate of his truck at 4:00 a.m. with hot egg burritos for me after I'd climbed the long grade to his house during the first loop of the double marathon. I told at least a hundred other runners, "Wow! Now that was some Jesus-love right there, y'all!" (Give God the glory!)
But before I get to the end, let me take y'all back two weeks before the BRDM, and one week prior to our VMI Class reunion. I'd been camped in nearby Buena Vista, training on as much vertical as I could find (trying to get ready for the super-hilly BRDM). I went to Lexington to do laundry when I met Monica, a sister in Christ, as she was leaving work next to the laundrymat. And as we were parting, she invited me to her church for Easter. (We actually went out to dinner the following week, breaking my "date drought" and fullfilling Anna's [whom I'd met and run with during the MST 100 a few weeks earlier] "prophecy".)
Now, back to Roanoke: After the marathon, Warren invited me to his church outside Roanoke. Anyway, the message was absolutely so timely, addressing a pastoral leader's experience, and something I'd been grappling with internally for some weeks. But, more crazy was that I learned that they had planted a handful of churches, one of which was...get this...the very church sister Monica had invited me to for Easter Sunday, two weeks prior!
Now, I don't know if you're keeping score at home, but "do the math": I talked to a classmate (one of many) living literally ON the racecourse of my next race, who then invited me to ONE of literally hundreds of churches in Roanoke I could have attended...and the church that planted THE ONE of dozens of churches I could have attended in Lexington weeks before! That's crazy how God quilted all those people and places together over a significant span of time for it all to work out.
Epilogue: Monica's and my friendship as grown such that I was able to come alongside her in launching her ministry, Rise-UP Rockbridge!--a ministry that I believe is going to be a game-changer for thwarting evil and darkness passing through Rockbridge County, Lexington lying in the heart.