God’s timing perfect


The prophet Isaiah was reflecting on his high calling, mission and destiny. It seemed to him that, like the prophets of God before him, he had been a failure. With an aching heart he whispered to himself, “I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength for nothing.”

Have you ever felt that way about your life in service to God? Before you pass judgment you need to read the fine print:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

You do not know where you will eventually wind up. This is a journey without maps. As it was with Abraham of old, this is a matter of going, not knowing.

No doubt there will be times in your life that you will find yourself in places of defeat and failure. Or you may find yourself treading a path at an unplanned pace, your progress seemingly as glacially slow as molasses in wintertime.

At such times the book of Numbers might help you. It describes how God guided the Israelites. There was a cloud over the tabernacle. At night it looked like fire. When the cloud moved—day or night—the Israelites set out. When the cloud stayed, the people stayed. God not only tells us where, he tells us when. As Christians, we move according to God’s timing.

A ministerial friend of mine says you can’t make a mistake before you are forty. Before forty, it’s all experience. But let me tell you about a man who fell flat on his face long before he reached the age of forty. Here are some of the milestones of his life:

He failed in business - Age 22

He failed running for office - Age 23

He failed in business again - Age 24

His sweetheart died - Age 26

He had a nervous breakdown - Age 27

He was defeated in another election - Age 29

He was defeated for congress - Age 34

He was elected to congress - Age 37

He was defeated in his bid for reelection - Age 39

He was defeated for the Senate - Age 46

He was defeated for Vice President - Age 47

He was defeated again for the Senate - Age 49

This coming Sunday will mark the anniversary of this man’s birth. On March 4, 1861, at the age of 51, he was sworn in as the 16th president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.

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2012-02-09 digital edition

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