Seven years ago, when President Bush was interrupted during a visit to a Sarasota, Florida elementary school with the news that a plane had struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, he had already been providentially prepared for the Herculean task of leadership that would follow.
Earlier that morning, his regular habit of reading a selection from Oswald Chamber’s classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, had led him to a very telling passage--how telling, he would have had no way of knowing at the time. Based on the model of servant-leadership from the Gospel of John, the short reading portended and portrayed the path the president would have to take in the difficult days ahead: “Ministering as opportunity surrounds us does not mean selecting our surroundings, it means being very selectly God's in any haphazard surroundings which He engineers for us. The characteristics we manifest in our immediate surroundings are indications of what we will be like in other surroundings.”
The President would indeed soon find himself in haphazard surroundings. The passage continued even more dramatically: “Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.” And finally: “We have to go the ‘second mile’ with God. Some of us get played out in the first ten yards, because God compels us to go where we cannot see the way, and we say, ‘I will wait till I get nearer the big crisis.’ If we do not do the running steadily in the little ways, we shall do nothing in the crisis.”
It is a great comfort to know that regardless of how magnificent or mundane our path may be in the days ahead, God is even now preparing the way for us.