Thursday, 29 December 2011

Alpha Stories - For Such a Time as This

I remember an incident very clearly that happened about ten years ago. It was Sunday, the day after our Alpha weekend away. We always ended our retreat Saturday night, and felt it important to be in church together the next day.

A woman who had come to faith in Christ on the weekend was walking with me after the service up the side aisle of our church. She was my age at the time. (Well, I suppose she would still be my age now, wouldn't she?) In any case, her eyes were full of tears; the tears that only the Holy Spirit can bring; tears of joy of the knowledge of God, of sin forgiven and at the beauty of a brand new relationship with the God you had no concept of so short a time before. And at the same time, tears of grief; grief at the realization of the price paid by the one you now recognize as your Saviour for your redemption.
And she was saying, "John, I feel my entire life to this point has been a waste."

I answered, "No, your entire life up to now has been in preparation for this very moment." I am reminded of the verse in Esther where her uncle Mordecai tells Esther,
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
God has not wasted anything. God can redeem your entire life to the moment of salvation and use it for His glory.

I was listening to Charles Price on Living Truth, and he was teaching on much the same theme. He used the example of Saul, who became known as the Apostle Paul. Paul describes his life before coming to know Christ in his own words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. (Acts 22:3a)
...circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.(Philippians 3:5-6)
I'm sure God had His eye on Saul, as he grew, and leaarned the Scriptures inside an out. It was no mistake, accident or coincidence that this was the man He would use to argue His cause in the synagogues of various cities on his missionary travels. It was no accident that this man of brilliant intellect would be the one to write such a great portion of what we now know as the New Testament, delineating our Christian doctrine with such clarity. God knew all along what he was going to do, and everything unfolded just as it was meant to do.

Not that Paul was a mere automaton, a puppet with no will of his own. No! But God used his human education, training and background to allow him to elucidate his toughts clearly and forcefully, and God, I believe, had a hand in aligning circumstances or placing him in situations where he could do just that.

Your life before you came to know the Lord was not wasted. It was all in preparation for what He has planned for you from now on. Every experience, every bit of knowledge gained, can now be put to use for His glory.

Starting now.

Take Care

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