People who find God under every rock can be annoying to me. They like to tell you, “God told me to do this … God told me to do that … God showed me this … God showed me that … God told me to say this … God told me to say that …” Sometimes I think that kind of talk is more a show of self-righteousness or insecurity than it is God’s guiding hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that God is everywhere present, I do believe that God is sovereign, and I do believe that everything that happens in this world God either causes or allows. I also believe that we can sense God’s presence, and be guided by God’s Spirit. I just feel that we need to be very careful about telling others what we think God is doing, and that most of the time we should use that form of sharing to encourage and support others. For example, we can build someone up by pointing out virtues that we see in their life, and follow that up by saying something like “God really shines through you in that way.”

So I am always hesitant to mention where I think I see God showing up in my life, but I will make an exception today.

One of the things I had planned to do in Puerto Vallarta was watch how people respond to beggars. In old town PV beggars often are young mothers who simply sit on the sidewalk with a plastic cup in front of them. My plan was to watch from afar for a half hour or so and record how many people walk by a beggar without giving anything, and record how many actually drop some money in the cup.

It just so happens that today, the day I left for Puerto Vallarta, there was a feature article in the Salt Lake Tribune entitled, “Can Believers Really Pass by the Beggar?” A Tribune Writer and Photographer spent 30 minutes documenting how people responded to a beggar in downtown Salt Lake City. The man sat there with a plastic cup in front of him, and during the next 30 minutes 34 people walked by him without giving anything, and 2 people dropped some money in the cup.

Now the fact that that article appeared in the newspaper could just be a meaningless coincidence with my plan to participate in the same social experiment here, or it could be an affirmation of my intention for this trip. In fact, I’d just like to accept that as an affirmation from God, and thank God for emboldening me through that coincidence.

God is near you, God is with you, God is for you, and God is in you.