Mark 15:21a – A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) (NLT)
Thousands of people are at the wrong place at the wrong time every day.
As I listen to the latest news headlines while eating breakfast, I hear about people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Some are seriously injured, while others are killed. A police officer is shot. A motorist is involved in a life-altering accident. Some board a plane only to have it crash or be blown up by terrorists. Others are the victims of robberies or murders.
Apparently, Simon of Cyrene was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Minding his own business as he hobbles in from the countryside, he is accosted by Roman soldiers leading Jesus to Calvary to crucify Him. By this time, Jesus is struggling because of the persecution that He has endured. Rather than fool with His inability to move faster, the soldiers enlist someone to carry the cross for Him.
But perhaps Simon wasn't at the wrong place at the wrong time. Just maybe he was at the wrong place at the right time. Cyrene is located in modern-day Libya, so it's possible that Simon was an African man coming to worship during the Passover celebration. Though Simon worshipped the God of the Jews, this experience likely led him to faith in Jesus Christ. By carrying the cross, he would have touched the blood of Jesus and probably Jesus Himself. Though his experience wasn't pleasant, Simon was where he needed to be — though it may not have looked so.
God has the habit of placing me in what appears to be wrong places at the most inconvenient times. Later, I discover that these times and places are just where I need to be to learn important lessons that propel me forward in my spiritual growth. From God's perspective, there is never a wrong place or a wrong time. He guides my steps and forms my image after His, just as the potter does the clay vessel. As with Simon, if I'm perceptive, He'll put me exactly where I need to be.
Let us not fear the events of the day. Instead, let us trust God to put each one of us exactly where He needs us to experience all that He has in store for us.
Prayer: Father, give us faith that You will place us exactly where we need to be during the course of our lifetimes. Amen.
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