Identifying Tracks

     I can remember what my father-in-law would say when that first snowfall came during hunting season in the fall. He would call it “trackin’ snow,” meaning it will be much easier now to not only spot a deer or elk (against the white background) but also to follow their tracks and see where they are headed.  I still really enjoy getting out in the mountains after a snowfall to see all the tracks of animals which you might otherwise not even know are there.  Well, we did have a light snowfall toward the end of rifle season and I had fun identifying all the tracks where I was hiking with a friend from church. We found tracks from deer, elk, moose, black bear, rabbit (both snowshoe and cottontail), squirrel, grouse, mountain lion, wolf and either red or kit fox.  We didn’t see any of the animals that made the tracks (we did see the grouse) but because of the tracks (and droppings) we knew they had been there not long before we came by. (NOTE: We did not see any Sasquatch/ Big Foot tracks!) 

     We don’t need snow to follow the “tracks” that God has left throughout history, which is really “His Story!”  We might call them “God sightings” or “God’s hand.”  We obviously don’t actually see Him, but we see evidence of His having been there.  Such signs of God’s having been there fall into two categories. We might call them “Class I” and “Class II” miracles. “Class I” miracles are when God interrupts the natural laws which He created, such as when He turned water to blood or to wine, or when he used a boy’s lunch to feed thousands of people with 12 baskets of leftovers, or when He healed a person blind or crippled from birth, or when He raised the dead, or when He walked on water or caused the stormy sea to be instantly calm.  

     “Class II” miracles are when God uses His natural laws to orchestrate events which some might write off as “coincidences,” but are in actuality God at work behind the scenes carrying out His divine purposes, often in the form of provision or protection or by causing people’s paths to cross.  One example of the latter is when “an angel spoke to Philip saying, ‘Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ And he arose and went; and behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians…and he had come to Jerusalem to worship. And was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah” (Acts 8:26-28).  God prompted Philip to engage him in conversation. The man was reading from Isaiah 53 but didn’t understand what he was reading. “Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him” (v. 35).  And the man got saved (v. 37)

     There have been several periods in “His Story” when there have been multiplied “Class I” miracles: during the time of Moses and the wilderness wanderings; during the time of the prophets, especially Elijah and Elisha; during the time of Jesus (cf Jn. 20:30,31) and the Apostles (cf Heb. 2:4).  Apart from those times, such miracles are rare.  But all throughout “His Story” there have been multitudinous “Class II” miracles, i.e., evidences of God at work.  If you are a Jesus follower I’m sure you have been witness to many.  

     Just this past weekend we happened to encounter a Christian friend whose son attended our Christian school many years ago. They live not very far away from us and right next to Highway 2. This past summer a pickup traveling by on the highway had some mechanical problems with the drive train and veered across the highway, clipping off a utility pole and plowing right through a little rental apartment on their property. It  was a storage building which they fixed up.  The owner mentioned that just minutes before the incident, the school bus had come by and let off children who would have been in harms way, but made it safely to their homes. She also said that the lady renting the apartment was still at work when the accident took place. Also, the owner had been out mowing the lawn by the apartment and decided to go sit down on her deck in the shade to cool off.  The unbeliever might say, “My, how fortunate,” or “How lucky,” or “What a coincidence,” but as believers, we know it was a “God thing.”  God was definitely at work orchestrating the timing.  

     When I resigned as an engineer at Hyster Company in Portland, Oregon to return to Montana and work with Rocky Mountain Bible Mission, we moved back with a U-Haul truck.  Our home church took up an offering to help with our expenses. I still remember the amount they gave us ($483) because it exactly paid for the truck rental (a “few” years ago!)!  On another occasion, we had made a faith promise for a building project at Three Lakes Community Bible Church near Troy, Montana where I pastored for 37 years.  A faith promise is an amount that you trust God to provide in a special way–not just something you pledge to give above your normal giving. It is exciting to see how God will provide the amount. In this case we had made a mistake on our income tax return. We had paid too much and we got a refund–the exact amount of our faith promise.  (That might even count as a “Class I” miracle, for we are talking about the IRS!)

     God leaves His “tracks” everywhere.  We can’t see Him (Jn. 1:18; 4:24), but we can see where He has been.  He is actively involved in our everyday lives providing, protecting, and bringing us across the paths of folks who minister to us or to whom we minister.  Learn to identify His “tracks” and give Him the praise!

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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